William A. Nichols, prominent local businessman, passed away at home on July 24, 2020, after a long battle with cancer.
William was born Feb. 3, 1936, in Benton Harbor, to Chester R. Nichols and Madolyn (Byers) Nichols. William graduated from Benton Harbor High School in 1954 and received his bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University in 1958. He served six years in the Michigan National Guard, achieving the rank of 1st lieutenant, serving as platoon tank commander in Company A, St. Joseph.
After college, William joined his father in his father’s glass, radiator and battery repair business. He then established the auto parts division of Chet Nichols, Inc., which would grow to eight locations in Southwestern Michigan over a 60-year career. Shortly after expanding Chet Nichols, Inc. into the auto parts business, William acquired Beaudette Motor Service company, which provided a host of precision machining services, including rebuilding engines.
In 1964, William married Jody/Jo Payne and together raised two children, Donald and Katherine Madolyn. William was an active member of the Benton Harbor DDA-TIFFA (Downtown Development Association), a past president of the Benton Harbor Exchange Club and a past president of the Ben-Jo Investment Club. He loved boating on Lake Michigan, taking long walks in the woods with his dogs and was an avid practical joker.
William is survived by his wife, Jody/Jo; his son, Donald William of Chicago; his daughter, Katherine Madolyn (Carlos Gonzalez) of Lille, France; and his brother, Robert G. of Greenwich, Conn., and Naples, Fla. Donald’s two children are Cameron Nichols of Champaign, Ill., and Jordan Nichols of Delray Beach, Fla. Katherine Madolyn’s daughter is Amélie Gonzalez of Lille, France.
William was preceded in death by his parents.
In accordance with William’s wishes, there will be no funeral service. Interment will be in Crystal Springs Cemetery, Benton Harbor. Those wishing to share a memory of William online may do so at www. starks-menchinger.com.