Sunday, December 4, 2022

Obituary - Richard W. Nichols

Richard W. “Rick” Nichols, 79, of Clinton, Missouri died Thursday, December 1, 2022 at Citizens Memorial Hospital in Bolivar, Mo.

Richard Wilson Nichols was born September 11, 1943 in Kansas City, Mo. His parents were Shelba Emmett and Golda Elizabeth (Larimore) Nichols. When Rick was three his family moved to Chillicothe, Mo., where he graduated from Chillicothe High School in 1961. In 1965 he graduated with honors from Southwest Missouri State College (now Missouri State University), in Springfield, Mo., and came to Clinton as a business teacher and assistant basketball coach.

In Clinton he met Martha Berry, who was home from college on Spring Break. They were married December 2, 1967 at the First Presbyterian Church in Clinton. They became parents of two sons, John Edward Berry “Jeb” Nichols, and Richard Tillman Nichols.

While teaching in the Clinton School District, Rick developed an interest in raising cattle and used his summer and after-school hours to start a small cattle business. He purchased a farm in 1972 and expanded his livestock operation. He also became a licensed real estate broker in 1972. After teaching eleven years, Rick left the teaching profession to become self-employed in real estate investing, rental real estate, and raising cattle.

After leaving the teaching profession, Rick continued his involvement with youth by coaching Little League baseball and youth basketball in the Clinton Park and Recreation Department program.

He served three terms on the Clinton City Council where he was a member of the merit board, was Planning & Zoning chairman, and served as Mayor Pro Tem. In 1992 he was elected to the Henry County Commission where he served four terms. During that time he served on the Henry County Board of Equalization, was on the Executive Board of West Central Missouri Community Action Agency, and was elected President of the West Central District County Commissioners Association. Rick also served as a member of Utilicorp Public Service Advisory Council, was a committee member for Partnership in Education, and was involved with the early Henry County Central Communications (911) Board.

Rick thoroughly enjoyed public service and was proud of the county’s accomplishments while he was a County Commissioner. He was pleased to help develop an era of financial cooperation with the state and federal governments, cities, townships and the private sector to complete important projects which could not have been accomplished solely by Henry County government. These projects included the building or replacing of over 100 bridges in the county and hard surfacing of Booth Road, Vansant Road, Montrose Lake Road, U-Highway, Sparrowfoot Boat Ramp Road and the Deepwater Boat Ramp Road. Effort was spent on the restoration of the bandstand and on restoring the interior and exterior of the courthouse, as well as the addition of an elevator, and new curbs and sidewalks on the courthouse grounds. He was most proud that these projects were accomplished without raising taxes, that all budgets were balanced, and that Henry County maintained an Excellent rating on all state audits.

Always an independent thinker, Rick had the ability to separate facts from emotions in making decisions. He sincerely liked people on their own merit and friends and acquaintances were always very important to him.

Rick was a member of the Clinton United Methodist Church, the Clinton Elks Lodge #1034, the Masonic Lodge No. 545, and the Ararat Shrine.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his son, John Edward Berry “Jeb” Nichols who died in 1995 in a car accident when he was a twenty year old college student. His brother, Douglas Gale Nichols and John Philip Nichols, also preceded him in death.

Rick is survived by his wife, Martha; son Richard Tillman Nichols; and grandson, Alexander William Nichols, all of Clinton, Mo. Also surviving is a sister, Nan (Nichols) Chapman of Chillicothe and Kansas City, Mo.; and sister-in-law, Margaret (Berry) Conrad of Zionsville, Indiana. Surviving nieces and nephews include David Chapman, Phillip Chapman, and Mary Nan (Chapman) Dupont of Kansas City, Mo., Thomas Nichols Chapman of Chillicothe, Mo., John Richard R. Nichols of Austin, Texas, Susan (Nichols) Harris of Round Rock, Tx., and Sara (Conrad) Conley of Mason, Ohio, and Dr. Susan (Conrad) Billups of Zionsville, In.

Memorial services will be at 2:00 p.m. Friday, December 9, 2022 at the Clinton United Methodist Church. Private family interment will be in the Englewood Cemetery. Memorial donations are suggested to the Alzheimer’s Association or to the Henry County Historical Society, and these donations may be left in care of the Bradley & Hadley Funeral Home, Clinton. Condolences may be left online at

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