Smith Funeral Home

128 East 5th Street, Flatonia, TX


Juanita Nikel

January 8, 1926November 26, 2019
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Juanita Clementine Nikel, 93, passed away peacefully in the early morning hours on November 26, 2019.

Juanita was born on the banks of the San Saba River in San Saba, TX on January 8, 1926 to William D. Kelley and Bessie (Turner) Kelley. She was the third child of five children. At the young age of 17, she left San Saba and headed to Dallas Tx to work for Neiman Marcus then to Houston TX. She later ventured to Flatonia where she opened her own cafe and met the love of her life, Max Nikel, Sr. Max and Juanita were married on March 23, 1946 in Moulton, TX. Juanita sold her cafe to buy their first truck to start their own trucking business. Soon after, they started a family of three children, Carolyn Nikel, Max Nikel Jr., and Belinda (Nikel) Richter.

Juanita spent most of her time as the “rock” of the family, taking care of children, grandchildren, and other family members. Some of her favorite pastime activities were numerous trips to Vegas with friends, working in the yard, and most of all, bingo every night. During any given Christmas, it was typical to find Santa Claus waving to all the little girls and boys outside her living room window. In her later years, she enjoyed watching the Houston Astros and San Antonio Spurs.

Surviving her are her children, Carolyn Nikel of Flatonia, Max Nikel Jr. (Anita) of Shiner, and Belinda (Nikel) Richter of Flatonia, Juanita’s sister, Linda (Kelley) Huser of Schulenburg and sister-in-law Maxine Vyvjala of Schulenburg. Her grandchildren include Brenda (Merecka) Rodriguez and husband Fred of Cypress, Rhonda (Merecka) Williams and husband Rodney of Cibolo, Kevin Nikel of Weimar, Mandy (Nikel) Adams and husband Bill of Fulshear, April (Richter) Shelnutt and husband Jason of Seguin, Misty Nikel of Katy, Ashley (Richter) Lamon and husband Joey of Castroville. Great-grandchildren include Victoria and Brent Wright of Cypress, Logan Doneske of Katy, Keely, Kaden, and Kamryn Williams of Cibolo, Alison and Jemma Shelnutt of Seguin, Victoria, Katelynn, Rebecca, and Patrick Lamon of Castroville, and Noah Adams of Fulshear.

Besides her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Max Nikel Sr., brothers Doyle and Leeman Kelley, sister Billie Kelley, daughter-in-law Liz Mendel, son-in-law Edward Richter, and grandson Brent Merecka.

Pallbearers are Fred Rodriguez, Brent Wright, Rodney Williams, Kaden Williams, Jason Shelnutt, Joey Lamon, Darrell Vyvjala, Kevin Nikel Honorary Pallbearers: Billy Don Kelley, Larry Kelley, Logan Doneske

Visitation will begin at 11:00 am on Tuesday, December 3, 2019. Rosary will be held Wednesday, December 4, 2019 at 10:30 am at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Flatonia followed by Funeral Mass starting at 11:00 am with Father Eddie Winkler officiating. Burial will follow at the Sacred Heart Catholic Cemetery in Flatonia.

Words of comfort can be sent to the family at www.smithfuneralhomemoulton.com

Smith Funeral Home-404 West Bobkat Drive-Moulton, Texas 77975-Phone#-361-596-4631


  • Max Nikel Sr., Husband (deceased)
  • William D. Kelley, Father (deceased)
  • Bessie Kelley, Mother (deceased)
  • Max Nikel Jr., Son
  • Anita Nikel, Daughter-in-law
  • Belinda Richter, Daughter
  • Carolyn Nikel, Daughter
  • Liz Mendel, Daughter-in-law (deceased)
  • Edward Richter, Son-in-law (deceased)
  • Brent Merecka, Grandson (deceased)
  • Linda Huser, Sister
  • Doyle Kelley, Brother (deceased)
  • Leeman Kelley, Brother (deceased)
  • Maxine Vyvjala, Sister-in-law
  • Billie Kelley, Sister (deceased)
  • Brenda (Merecka) Rodriguez, Grandchild
  • Rhonda (Merecka) Williams, Grandchild
  • Kevin Nikel, Grandchild
  • Mandy (Nikel) Adams, Grandchild
  • April (Richter) Shelnutt, Grandchild
  • Misty Nikel, Grandchild
  • Ashley (Richter) Lamon, Grandchild
  • Victoria Wright, Great Grandchild
  • Brent Wright, Great Grandchild
  • Logan Doneske, Great Grandchild
  • Keely Williams, Great Grandchild
  • Kaden Williams, Great Grandchild
  • Kamryn Williams, Great Grandchild
  • Alison Shelnutt, Great Grandchild
  • Jemma Shelnutt, Great Grandchild
  • Victoria Lamon, Great Grandchild
  • Katelynn Lamon, Great Grandchild
  • Rebecca Lamon, Great Grandchild
  • Patrick Lamon, Great Grandchild
  • Noah Adams, Great Grandchild

  • Fred Rodriguez, Active
  • Brent Wright, Active
  • Rodney Williams, Active
  • Kaden Williams, Active
  • Jason Shelnutt, Active
  • Joey Lamon, Active
  • Darrell Vyvjala, Active
  • Kevin Nikel, Active
  • Billy Don Kelley, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Larry Kelley, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Logan Doneske, Honorary Pallbearer


  • Visitation Tuesday, December 3, 2019
  • Rosary Wednesday, December 4, 2019
  • Funeral Mass Wednesday, December 4, 2019
  • Burial Wednesday, December 4, 2019


Juanita Nikel

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Juanita Nikel was a woman for whom actions would speak louder than words. Her life motto might well have been “if it isn’t logical, it’s not important.” The qualities of being fair, just and the ability to recognize what was right were clearly driving forces in Juanita’s life. She was also the kind of person who could respect a “do not disturb” sign, whether it was real or implied. She was analytical and observant, with an ability to be simultaneously spontaneous and keenly perceptive. Juanita was modest in her actions and extremely literal in her thoughts and in the manner in which she communicated with others. When Juanita said something, she meant it. All those who knew her appreciated this trademark quality.

      Juanita was born on January 8, 1926 on a riverbank in San Saba, Texas. Her parents were William D. and Bessie Lee Kelley. Juanita was raised in San Saba, Texas. Even as a small child, Juanita wanted to understand what was right and what was wrong in any given situation. As Juanita grew older, she realized the importance of being treated fairly, and in return, she treated everyone around her the same way. This belief in fair play served Juanita well throughout her life and despite her natural shyness; she enjoyed a solid group of friends.

      Since Juanita sought to treat those around her with respect, she often found herself in the role of playing peacemaker within her family. She was comfortable in working through the types of sibling rivalry situations that quite often occur, because she loved the challenge of conflict resolution. She would look at the most reasonable and practical ways to settle any disputes. Juanita was raised with four siblings. She had 2 brothers, Doyle and Leeman and 2 sisters, Lindy and Billie. Juanita was constantly involved in activities with her siblings. Juanita and her siblings had the typical rivalries while growing up, but they shared many life experiences.

      During her childhood, family and friends viewed Juanita as a quiet and reserved person with what most would consider a calm and tranquil demeanor. In fact, she was a fairly curious child who had the ability to entertain herself and didn’t require much in the way of outside stimulation. A great deal of Juanita’s free time was spent learning how and why the things around her worked. She was an active child who loved being outdoors and absorbing all the sensory input that nature could provide. She liked playing baseball.

      The fact that she was curious was an asset to Juanita while she was in school. She possessed strong study skills and good concentration. She relished the task of scrutinizing problems, investigating all of the options and then solving them. Juanita enjoyed tackling the project that was right in front of her and working it straight through to its conclusion. Sometimes, she would become so involved in the process of problem solving that she would lose awareness of her surroundings. Experience was Juanita’s best teacher.

      Those who didn’t know Juanita well might have thought her to be objective and somewhat emotionally detached, but family and friends who were close to her knew that she was capable of unexpected flashes of humor. Juanita’s good friends tended to be “thinkers” like herself. Even though the circle of friends was somewhat small, it was a strong and loyal group, and Juanita liked nothing better than to spend her free time with them. Juanita was well known for always being up front and open, never hiding her true feelings, qualities that drew deep loyalty from her friends because they understood and appreciated her for the person she was. Another quality that people admired in Juanita was her ability to link cause and effect and apply the appropriate connection in her assessment of any new situation. Later in life, she became friends with Della Neimann, Della Grieve, Bertha Brosch and Agnes Fajkus.

      This same loyalty and up front honesty Juanita shared with her friends carried over to other aspects of her life, including her relationships with her family. On March 23, 1946, Juanita exchanged wedding vows with Max J. Nikel, Sr. at the JP Office of Moulton, Texas. She was a great listener who enjoyed the couple’s “together” time, especially when it came to celebrating special occasions.

      As the family grew, Juanita was easily able to adapt to the changes and challenges of parenthood. Juanita was blessed with three children, 2 daughters, Carolyn and Belinda, and 1 son, Max Jr. They were also blessed with 8 grandchildren, Brenda, Rhonda, Brent, Mandy, Kevin, Misty, April and Ashley. Juanita was never impulsive in dealing with family problems. Instead, she would carefully think things through before implementing the solution in a logical and objective manner. Juanita was a strong, clear communicator who excelled at eliminating confusion by making matters crystal clear to all those involved. At the same time, Juanita’s inventive nature could turn some of the boring old household chores into a fun activity for the family.

      Juanita was the kind of person who had no difficulty in taking on a project and seeing it through to its completion. She excelled at dealing with those pesky details that can derail some people, and once she understood exactly why she was working on a project, she could plow full steam ahead. For Juanita, being able to grasp the logical components of any task was significant to her in appreciating its importance. Even if she worked alone on an assignment, Juanita was able to incorporate and welcome new insights from others, and she would readily use them if they improved the process.

      Juanita’s curious and inquisitive nature influenced her choice of leisure pursuits as well. She applied her strong concentration and analytical skills as to how things worked to her choice of activities. She particularly enjoyed the time her hobbies provided, which were bingo, gambling and hunting. Juanita was content to enjoy her hobbies alone but was also willing to share her interests with others.

      Juanita had the ability to stay calm and the determination to do what was necessary to get the job finished, traits that helped her enjoy sports. Recreational sports included baseball. Juanita was also something of a sports fan and enjoyed following her favorite events whenever she got the opportunity. Tops on her list were football, basketball and baseball.

      Juanita was an asset to any organization she joined. In many ways, she was a woman of action who would rather tackle a job than spend time chatting about irrelevant things. She worked well on small committees and excelled at focusing on the important details without getting bogged down by the unnecessary parts of an assignment. Throughout her later years, Juanita was an active member of the Legion Auxiliary and PTA.

      Religion and faith were important to Juanita. She held dear the faith and values she derived from her beliefs. She was a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Flatonia, Texas for 71 years.

      Juanita appreciated the occasions when she was able to travel and get away on a vacation. She enjoyed learning about different locales and was open to exploring new and different places. Favorite vacations included going to Las Vegas. She thoroughly enjoyed her trips.

      Juanita was a lover of animals and cherished her pets. One of Juanita’s favorites was a bulldog named Harvey. They were best friends for 10 years.

      As her retirement approached, Juanita viewed the event as just one more project to research and solve. So, when the day finally arrived in 1994, she was well prepared and decided on staying in Flatonia, Texas. In retirement, she found new pleasure in watching sports on TV.

      Juanita passed away on November 26, 2019 at Schulenburg Regency in Schulenburg, Texas. Juanita lived a long life and had heart failure. She is survived by her children (Carolyn, Belinda and Max), grandchildren (Brenda, Rhonda, Mandy, Kevin, Misty, April and Ashley), great-grandchildren (Victoria, Brent, Logan, Keely, Kaden, Kamryn, Alison, Jemma, Victoria, Katelynn, Rebecca, Patrick and Noah) and her sister (Lindy). Services were held at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Flatonia, Texas and Juanita was laid to rest in Sacred Heart Cemetery in Flatonia, Texas.

      Juanita strongly believed that talk is cheap. She was the type of person who would show others her feelings through her actions. She was practical and realistic but was able to be flexible when the need arose. She had a curiosity about the things around her and tried to experience life directly rather than sit back and talk about it. The experiences she treasured most were those she shared with her loved ones. Juanita Nikel will be greatly missed.