Cover photo for George Nichols's Obituary
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1939 George 2024

George Nichols

December 26, 1939 — May 9, 2024

George Hart Nichols, Jr., age 84, loving husband, father, brother and grandfather, passed away on May 9th 2024 at Hendrick Medical Center South, with Tootsie by his side, after four months of declining health issues, chiefly familial heart disease.

George requested non-traditional services, only a gathering of family, dear friends, and associates, in addition to Betty Hukill with Hollye Jaklewicz singing his and Tootsie’s favorite love song, “Evergreen”. This visitation is Saturday, May 18th from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Hamil Family Funeral Home, 6449 Buffalo Gap Road with private family- only burial later that day at Elmwood Memorial Park.

George was bom December 26, 1939, in Kansas City, Kansas, to George Hart Nichols, Sr. and M.C. “Mickey” Nichols. The family moved to Abilene shortly thereafter and later established Southland/Nichols Battery Company where George Jr. helped his Dad deliver batteries all over West Texas. When heading international companies in future years, George often said that he learned how to treat customers and employees from his dad at Nichols Battery.

He graduated from Abilene High where he pitched baseball on state championship teams. Then, on scholarship, he pitched for Arizona State and 2 years at Texas Tech, graduating there in 1963, BBA, Rawls College of Business.

After college, George moved to Nashville, Tennessee, working for GENESCO learning the shoe business. From 1971 to 1982 he was President of the Johnston & Murphy Shoe Company.

He married WT “Tootsie” February 26,1976, in Nashville and said that her cooking ruined his golf game. From there they moved four times to as many states as he headed companies including The Hanover Bostonian Shoe Company, The MacGregor Golf Company, The Square Two Golf Company and the Arnold Palmer Golf Company.

Upon retiring in 1998, the couple returned to Abilene, where he said he “now could give back to the community” that instilled the hometown values he held dearly. He volunteered and shared his management skills on more than fifteen boards, primarily non-profits. To name just a few, his favorites included chairing The Diamondback Charity Classic with Charles Coody benefiting the Noah Project and Hendrick Hospice; the Center for Contemporary Arts (the painted Buffalo project); the Paramount Theater; the Community Foundation; the Buffalo Gap Historic Village. After establishing the Abilene Arts Alliance, which raised over a million dollars to support the arts in our city, he served as its chairman for many years.

Preceded in death by his parents; brothers David Lee and Philip Charles Nichols; a beloved brother-in-law, Judge Robert Watson. Survived by his wife, WT “Tootsie”; sister Carol Nichols Watson; two amazing sons, William David Nichols (Susan); Patrick Hart Nichols (Angela); granddaughter Ellison Hart Elledge (Hunter); grandsons Garrison Hart Nichols and Jackson Nichols; beloved first daughter-in-law, Tanja Hall Nichols (David Kynard), a host of nieces and nephews, and his rescue bichonpoo companion, Miss Gem.

The family thanks with sincere gratitude Dr. Samantha Goodman and Dr. Robert Leverton for their long term dedicated care of our George.

If desired, in lieu of food or flowers, kindly support Rescue the Animals, SPCA, 4620 North 1st, Abilene, TX 79603 or the Community Foundation of Abilene, PO Box 1001, Abilene, TX 79604 or the education fund of The Buffalo Gap Historic Village, 133 William Street, Buffalo Gap, TX 79508.

Honorary pall bearer, Brad Whitfield, matchmaker, Nashville, Tennessee.

 

Memories may be shared, and condolences submitted online at www.HamilFamilyFuneralHome.com

 

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Saturday, May 18, 2024

10:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

The Hamil Family Funeral Home

6449 Buffalo Gap Road, Abilene, TX 79606

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