Mary Frances (O'Neill) Nichols
Mary Frances Nichols, 95, passed away at home with her family by her side on July 28, 2017.
Mary Frances was born and grew up in the small town of Hancock, Iowa on the family farm, and that Midwestern hard work ethic and no-nonsense attitude stayed with her throughout her life. Mary learned to cook hearty meals for the big group of farmhands at a young age, knowledge that served her well in providing family dinners for her seven children (and later many grandchildren). She offered two dinner options, "take it or leave it", but with her creamy mashed potatoes and delectable steamed chocolate pudding, everyone was very happy to "take it".
Later Mary became a registered nurse, and served at a hospital in Omaha, Nebraska during World War II, which was where she met a young doctor, and her future husband, Greg Nichols. They married on March 16, 1943 and enjoyed 60 years together before Greg's death in 2003. Their's was a true relationship of equals, filled with love and laughter.
In her adopted homes of Portland and Wilsonville/Charbonneau, Mary grew to have a wide social circle of people she knew through a myriad of different interests and connections. She was an avid knitter, and for many years had a monthly social knitting club that sometimes undertook charitable projects. Mary and Greg also enjoyed a dinner club with many other doctors and their spouses, and Mary often enabled Greg's golf addiction by joining him for social events at the Portland Golf Club, as well as playing in a golfers roup herself. Many also knew Mary through her years orking at an art gallery in southwest Portland, where she as one of her best customers — especially if the artist Bev Doolittle was involved — and many of her children and grandchildren still have gifted paintings from Mary hanging in their homes.
Mary was also very proud of her Irish heritage and Catholic faith. She visited Ireland on multiple occasions, and was a longtime parishioner of The Madeleine and St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Portland, and St. Cyril Catholic Church in Wilsonville.
Anyone who met Mary remembers her quick wit, self deprecating style, and Irish sense of humor. You couldn't hear one of her marvelous stories and not be laughing by the end. Even though she was born in 1921, Mary was definitely a modern woman: fiery, feisty, independent, and always speaking her mind. One of her favorite pastimes was long talks and exchanging ideas. Family was also very important to Mary, and she thoroughly enjoyed visiting with her children and their families.
Mary Frances will be deeply missed by her family and friends. We will not be the same without her, but will remember her with a smile when we think of how she is probably already looking down on us and telling a great story.
Mary was preceded in death by her parents, Frank and Mary O'Neill; her husband, Greg, on Aug. 24, 2003; and her brother, Robert "Bob" O'Neill.
She is survived by her seven children, Carol (Richard) Fitzpatrick, Dr. Mike (Bobbi) Nichols, Robert "Pat" (Carol) Nichols, Judge John (Ginny Ann) Nichols, Kathy Dagsland, Mary Margaret "Peggy" (Frank) Misho, and Paul (Jodi) Nichols; eleven grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.
A private memorial service will be held for the family.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Portland Providence Hospice at https://appsor. providence.org/giving/?funds=77 in memory of Mary Nichols.