In Loving Memory 

John *Johnnie* Warren Nichols 


  On August 12, 2004 at 5:10 a.m., one of the greatest men I have ever known left this earth....and yes...I am biased as this man was my than that.....he was Dad.  He went peacefully surrounded by his children and grandchildren, and more importantly surrounded by the love of the family that so proudly call him Dad.  This page will be my humble efforts to capture and share with you the greatness that was this impossible task as you would have had to know him to truly understand. 

Please note...throughout this page, I am working with those pictures I have, and please if any family members have more appropriate pictures or pictures they wish to add, send them to me by clicking HERE. 

Johnnie Nichols was born on October 29, 1931 in Ridge   Farm  Ill.   He grew up surrounded by his 12 brothers and sisters and as a family they survived some tough times....but survive they did, producing a fighting spirit that was so much Dad to all of us that knew him.

At the time of the Korean conflict, he felt that he needed to do his part, and enlisted and served a tour of duty during that conflict.


On August 28, 1954 Johnnie married the woman who would prove to be the love of his life, Barbara Jane Daily.  In 1960, their first son, Clifford John Nichols was born, named after Johnnie's dad.  Two years later Dawne Marie Nichols joined the family, followed in subsequent years by Loretta (Lori) Janine Nichols, Steven Charles Nichols,  Lisa Ann Nichols, and finally Bobby John Nichols.


Back Row:  Cliff, Bobby, and Steve
Front Row:  Dawne, Lisa, and Lori

In order to truly understand the man that was Johnnie Nichols, you must meet the family because family was everything to Dad.  The term Patriarch is perhaps one of the most misused terms when it comes to family, but in Dad's case it was totally accurate.  His love and pride in his children and grandchildren was always very visible to anybody that knew him. 

Over the years, the Nichols clan grew with the additions of Dawne's husband, Andre, Lori's husband Roddie, and Steve's wife Joyce.  Dawne and Andre added to the family Sara, Whitney, and Hannah, Lori and Roddie added Camron, Aaron, Nick, Dylan and Logan.  Cliff added to the family Johnnie's namesake John Warren, Billy, and Elizabeth, and recently the family was blessed by the latest edition to the clan, Steve and Joyce's daughter, Emily.


Grandchildren, Thanksgiving, 2002
Back Row:  Whitney, Cam, Nick, Sarah, John
Second Row:  Elizabeth, Dillon, Aaron
Front Row:  Logan, Mom, Dad, Hannah, and Billy 



For anybody that knew Dad, they knew that he was one of the hardest working, honest men that walked the planet.  One of the legacies he passed on to his children was that work ethic, and a dogged and by the standards of today, old-fashioned dedication to quality.  He was a man that defined the term "Master Carpenter", and one of my fondest memories of growing up was when I was old enough to work side jobs with him, and what he taught me about construction was something special.....from the designated stud packer, going through cutting blocks for him using a hand saw so I would learn to measure correctly, through actually strapping on that first tool bag and standing proudly beside my dad swinging a hammer, he taught me how to be a carpenter.  From the day he taught me until the day I die, there will always be things I do a certain way, and go ahead and ask me will always get the answer, "Because Dad said so".  But Dad did so much more for all of us, and in my case it was perhaps not so important the construction he taught me....but the underlying concept of always doing the job right no matter what, and not a day has gone by that when I feel a hammer in my hand I don't hear his voice and his teaching in my head....and Dad may be gone, but in this and so many ways, he will always be with me. 

Dad was also the true Jack of all Trades because he could take off his tool belt, pick up his mechanics tools, and fix anything.  I personally never picked up his love of turning a wrench, but I can share that I have some very pleasurable memories working and getting all greasy with Dad.  But then again I believe all of us that knew Dad will testify that being with him was matter what you were doing...he was just that kind of man. 

The time came in his life when Dad decided he wanted to start his own business, and he bought a Backhoe, truck, and trailer, and Nichols Backhoe service was born, and Dad went about building a reputation for quality and service that to this day is legendary in the Salinas Valley.  Employers knew when they saw that white "Jimmy" dump truck with the Mack dog hood ornament pull onto the site, that they were in good hands. 

Dad's family was his life, his work what he did to feed the family, but he was so much more than that.  For a long period he realized his dream of obtaining his private pilot's license, and dearly loved flying until a heart attack caused him to lose his license....but now Dad flies free, unfettered by any worldly constraints. 

That being said, no tribute to Dad is complete without the mention of his life in Square Dancing.  One day Mom drug him to a square dance, and according to mom this was with at least a little reluctance.  That initial reluctance aside, he grew to love Square Dancing, and one day a very special lady, Jeannie Briscoe took him up on the stage and put a microphone in his hand, and on that day a Caller was born, and for the next 30 years that was so much of Dad's identity.  He formed a club called the Square Nichols, and was also instrumental in forming a club called the   Golden  State  Roadrunners, a group that combined a love of camping with a love of Square Dancing.  But the group that he formed that will always stick out in my mind was the Mini Gold Dusters, and the history of this club is so much his dedication to his family and his love of Square Dancing. 

You see, one of my fondest memories was the honor of being allowed to load Dad's calling equipment in the car for dances, and as a special treat, we were allowed at times to accompany him to dances.  Both my sister Dawne and I wanted to badly to learn to dance, but the bylaws of most clubs prohibited children from joining, thus the Mini Gold Dusters were born.  And if you ever think Dad was not all guts, think about this.....he took on teaching about 20 10 year olds to square dance....and guts and patience were the order of the day.  But he did it, and we became a dance club, went to hoedowns, and thanks to his teaching, patience and strength, were able to function (for the most part) in the very adult society that is Square Dancing as a positive reflection on both ourselves, and our leaders.  And yes....I said leaders because Dad would be the first to admit that most of what he accomplished would not have been possible without Mom at his side.   

Knowing the love of Square Dancing Dad had, I know on the day of his funeral services, he sat in heaven and smiled at all those people that so loved him showing up to say goodbye adorned in their Square Dance finery.....such a fitting tribute to the time and devotion he put into his calling...the hours upon hours he spent with his little blocks figuring out calls.....the hours spent with that microphone in his hand perfecting his art....and the hundreds upon hundreds of people he taught not only to dance, but to love what they were doing. 


No tribute to Dad could ever be complete without a chronicling of the absolutely amazing talent that Dad always had to work with his hands....and one of the memories I believe all of us children will always carry with us is the memory of those amazing hands.  They were just powerful, and hardened by a lifetime of physical labor....but at the same time, so gentle and kind.  When you held Dad's hand, you always knew that if he chose to, those hands could crush yours like an egg....but at the same time there was never a place as safe as being in those strong, loving hands.  But those talented hands combined with an incredible imagination.  Below are a few picture that demonstrate what that imagination and those so very talented hands could accomplish. 



An old shovel, a piece of pipe, some paint and you  have a bird to adorn the garden. 

Some tubing and other "junk" and a bike  rack becomes a critter. 



Others may have seen an old tank and some saw a horse for mom to plant her flowers in. 

The perfect address sign. 



The teamwork of Mom and Dad...Mom did the Stained  glass, Dad did the concrete work, and a Beautiful retaining wall was created. 

More collaboration between Mom and Dad. 

This is a work in progress, and there is so much more to be said, but I am going to stop at this point so I can recompose my thoughts.  If anybody has pictures, memories, or whatever that should be included here, please share them with me by clicking HERE to send an e-mail. 

Dad, you taught me so much....over your life in our time together, weather or not I always paid attention, you did your best for me and the family, and I so love you for that.  The lessons I paid attention to have made me what I am today, and those lessons I chose in my "wisdom" have taken their toll.  Throughout your life you taught me and everybody else around you what it means to be a man, and in those final days, you taught all of us a final to face the end with a sense of humor, courage, and integrity.  We all knew that no matter what, you loved us, and despite all, you were proud of us, and I am so proud to be able to say you are my Dad.  You are gone from our physical lives, but your legacy and memory will live on forever in the hearts of everybody that loved and admired you.  I have heard that the measure of a man's life is in the legacy he left and those that loved him, and those people whose lives you touched in your special way are a legacy that anybody would be proud of. 

I love you Dad. 

The Nichols Family, 1964  

The definition of "Quality Time"

Never to busy for his children  Cliff and Dawne Learning from the master



This picture was taken at Whiskey Run Beach, Bandon Oregon,  August 13 2004.  The verse superimposed said so much about that man that was Johnnie Nichols and it seemed appropriate that the verse and picture be melded in honor of Dad's memory.



Here are some links to other pages with pictures of the Nichols family. 

My Square Dance Caller Page



Dad's Favorite Song....Sneaky Snake by Tom T. Hall. 

Click HERE to download this MIDI file