Norval "Sgt. Nick" Avis Nichols

March 20, 1917December 25, 2018
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Norval "Sgt. Nick" Avis Nichols was born on March 20, 1917 in Spadra, Arkansas and passed away on December 25, 2018 in Plano, Texas


  • Visitation Wednesday, January 2, 2019
  • Funeral Service Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Norval "Sgt. Nick" Avis Nichols

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Patriot PAWS

January 2, 2019

As we mourn the passing of Sgt. Nick, we give thanks to God that he brought Sgt. Nick into our lives here at Patriot PAWS. He was a special friend who was sure to bring a smile whenever his daughter, Cheryl brought him to visit us. He was a kind and gentle soul who always gave more than he took and made everyone feel special. We were honored to share his birthdays with him and to be able to name a service dog in training after him. Canine Sgt. Nick will be placed with a disabled veteran soon and continue to carry on in the tradition of his namesake. Love to all of Sgt. Nick's friends and family. Thank you for sharing him.

Debbie Lane

December 31, 2018

I remember our family reunion in Panama City, FL back when I was just a teenager. We were all out on the beach and us kids had rafts playing out in the ocean. Uncle Nick decided he wanted to ride the waves on the raft and proceeded to attempt to get on the raft. No matter how hard he tried, he could not get on that raft! We all had tears in our eyes from laughing so hard. One of those you had to be there to appreciate it. He tried so hard, but just couldn’t accomplish the feat. Mom has a picture somewhere of him attempting this feat. Also remember that he and Uncle Carl burned the top of their feet that same trip! Good times and such good, happy memories. RIP Uncle Nick! We love you and you will always be in our hearts!!❤️

Christina C

December 29, 2018

My condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Nichols.
I hope that good memories and the God of all comfort helps you during this difficult time. (1 Peter 5:7)

Cheryl Nichols

December 29, 2018

If you could look into my heart, only then would you understand the respect and love I have, and always will have, for my dad. Such a gift, honor and joy to be with him during this last 5 years. He fought his greatest battle in life with amazing strength, fortitude and a heart overflowing with love, living up to his life's motto "Never Give Up."



Norval “Sgt. Nick”Avis Nichols 101 years old passed away peacefully at his home in Plano, TX on Tuesday, December 25, 2018.

Born March 20, 1917 in the small town of Spadra, Arkansas. Norval grew up in a time when life was simple but challenging. God, Family, Friends and love of Country were his foundation. Nick was the devoted big brother of 4 younger siblings. Growing up during the poorest of times Nick along with his father Edward and mother Neta made sure the family had what they needed and sometimes wanted. The family moved many times around Northwestern Arkansas seeking work during the Great Depression years. Nick’s unfaltering faith in God would lead him successfully through many challenging times in his life. WWII changed his life path and late in 1940 he joined the Arkansas National Guard in hopes of staying close to home. The Arkansas National Guard became the Federalized 206th Coast Artillery on January 1, 1941. Nick soon boarded a train dressed in a WWI uniform, destined for Fort Bliss in El Paso, TX. After weeks of basic training Nick and his fellow troops boarded yet another train, destination unknown. Traveling up the California coast they reached their destination in Seattle, Washington. After a couple of blurry days the men boarded ships and again, destination unknown. As they approached the unfamiliar coast line they were informed it was Fort Mears in the Aleutian Island chain. The entire story of the 206th is captured in a book called “The Williwaw War: The Arkansas National Guard in the Aleutians in World War II.”

“Never Give Up” became his life motto during the war and he stayed true to that promise for his entire life. After an honorable discharge in 1944 Norval married the love of his life, his angel, Charlotte C. Nichols and had three children, David, James and Cheryl in Oklahoma City. He went to Business College on the GI Bill and worked for Ford Motor Company as an accountant. It wasn’t long before Ford transferred Norval and his family to Detroit where he worked for Ford 35 years. Once settled Norval and Charlotte quickly made many good friends that became loved ones. They both became very involved with their church, Livonia Baptist Church, teaching, mentoring children and lending his skills as church accountant. Retirement came in the mid 1980’s and they moved to Fort Smith, AR to be closer to his brother and sisters. Once again they became involved with their new church, Grand Ave Baptist and developed treasured friendships with Dottie and Nelson Kimes, Bill and Lucy Buergler. After 52 years of marriage Charlotte died in 1997. In 2000 Norval met another love of his life, his “One and Only” Sofia Krakowiak, and together they navigated the next 13 years enjoying loving life at every opportunity. Late in 2013 Norval moved to Plano, TX to live with his daughter Cheryl and, once again, found purpose to help others. Lending his birthdays to Patriot PAWS Service Dogs raising money to help them train service dogs for veterans. He delighted in all the friends he made and cherished all who helped him stay strong. All those who knew Norval would agree it was the sparkle in his eyes, big smile, kindness and wonderful sense of humor that filled their hearts with joy. After all he was a Army World War II veteran part of the Greatest Generation which made him a national treasure when he would say, “Never Give Up.”

Proceeded by many friends and loved ones, notably his loving wife of 52 years and mother of his three children of Charlotte Cole Nichols. Brother Carl Nichols, Sister Irene Taylor. Most recently Sofia Krakowiak the second love of his life.

Survived by his three children, David Nichols of Ft. Smith, AR, James Nichols of Santa Rosa, CA and Cheryl Nichols of Plano, TX. Grandchildren Roseanne Nichols, Lana Nichols, and Shon Nichols of Santa Rosa, CA. Christie and James Heike and Great grandson William Chet Heike of Chicago, IL and Katie Nichols of Corte Madera, CA. His sisters Agnes Davis of Ft. Smith, AR and Donna Sue Phillips of Macon, GA. numerous nieces and nephews.
The family is deeply grateful and humbled for the loving friendship of so many. A special place in our hearts for Patriot PAWS Service Dogs, Pittman Creek Physical Therapy Casey Jones. Norval’s personal motivator and trainer Pam Patrick. Dr. Lige B. Rushing and special support friends Martha Taylor and Jeri Hall.

Funeral Services will be held January 2, 2019 at 2pm at Fentress Mortuary Chapel in Ft. Smith, with burial to follow at Oak Cemetery also in Ft. Smith. Arrangements are under the direction of Fentress Mortuary in Ft. Smith, AR.
In Lieu of flowers our family requests donations be made to or directly to Patriot PAWS Service Dogs 254 Ranch Trail, Rockwall, TX 75032. We will be sharing many more memories on Norval’s Facebook page “Sgt.Nick.”

“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord” - II Corinthians 5:8