Robert E. Nichols

March 12, 1929November 8, 2018

Robert (Bob) Elwood Nichols of Birmingham, AL went to be with God on November 8, 2018. He was born March 12, 1929 in Clarksburg, WV. He was the only child of Max Elijah Nichols and Bertha Estelle Gabriel Nichols who preceded him in death.

Bob graduated from Unidis High School in West Milford in 1947. He was a graduate of the Baltimore Institute of Photography and served in the United States Army as a photography instructor during the Korean conflict between 1951 and 1953.

After his military service, he was employed as a photographer by Ideal Studio in Clarksburg, WV and Paul Jack Studio in Parkersburg, WV before purchasing The Bell Studio in Bridgeport, WV 1959, which he and his wife owned and operated until 2002. An active member of the Professional Photographers Association of West Virginia, he served twice as the organization’s president. He earned the Certified Professional Photographer Degree and was awarded many honors for his work on the state and national level.

He was often called “Mr Bell” as he photographed countless high school events, weddings, portraits and other businesses during his 43 years of recording the people and places of West Virginia.

His love for photography was only surpassed by his love for God. As a result, Bob served 10 years as a part-time local pastor for the Tygart River Charge, Mon Valley District of the West Virginia United Methodist Conference, before retiring to Birmingham AL.

His ministry work continued in Birmingham through the Highlands United Methodist Church in Birmingham where he worked with the Community Ministries to help the poor and homeless.

Bob’s passion for his God, his family, and photography showed up in every conversation through the years, as he never met a stranger. His kindness, humor and faith will stand as his legacy to his family and friends who knew him best.

He is survived by his wife Barbara (Frush); daughters Roberta Nolte and husband Dan of Ona WV; Rebecca Nichols of Nashville TN; the three sons Roger Alan, and his wife Erika, of Nashville TN; Kenneth and his wife Lori, of Birmingham AL and Joseph of Mars PA; two grandsons Ian Nolte (his wife Amy) and Max Nolte of Huntington WV and granddaughters, Harper, Zoe and Bella Nichols of Birmingham, AL and one great-granddaughter Eva Louise of Huntington, WV.

A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday, November 10, 2018 at the Highlands United Methodist Church 1045 20th St S, Birmingham, AL 35205 with a reception following the service. A memorial service will be held for his family and friends in West Virginia at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to the Community Ministries Fund of High­lands United Methodist Church (1045 20th St S, Birmingham, AL 35205) to help provide for the poor and homeless of Birmingham.


  • Community Ministres Fund, Highlands United Methodist Church


  • Memorial Service Saturday, November 10, 2018

Robert E. Nichols

have a memory or condolence to add?

Ken Nichols

November 17, 2018

Dad at Holly River State Park.

Hal Green

November 15, 2018

Mr. Bell
Then Mr. Nichols, Roberts’s Dad
But for the past 40 some years, he had become Bob. He always had time to chat, and he made you feel good. I’m sure everyone in Bridgeport, WV has memories to share. He was like part of the fabric of our little town
RIP, Bob

Ken Nichols

November 13, 2018

Ken Nichols

November 13, 2018

Ken Nichols

November 13, 2018

Jackie Furbee (kirby)

November 11, 2018

Mr. Nichols did my wedding portrait and before that ask to do a portrait when I was still in high school, which we surprised my Mother with as a gift. Mrs Nichols did the color. That portrait hangs in our bedroom today. My daughter Debi Fleming Paterson went to school withKenny I believe. Wonderful family that I have fond memories of. Sorry for your loss of a very special man.

Chris Kinney

November 10, 2018

Mr. and Mrs. Nichols were neighbors, the parents of a good friend while I was growing up. As I became a young adult, they became so much more. As a young man, still immature in my faith, Mr. Nichols was an example to me of what a Christian man should be. Unfortunately, I did not appreciate this until I had moved away from home and only got time to spend with them when I was back in Bridgeport to visit family. They were part of what I considered to be my extended family. I have two amazing parents. Mr. and Mrs. Nichols, as well as Mr. and Mrs. Duez, were like additional parents I was blessed to have in my life because of where I grew up. All of us who grew up on New Street were blessed to have them watching over us. Mr. Nichols, through many conversations and by his life example, taught me the importance of living according to faith in Christ and the truth of Scripture, the value of relationships over material things, and that life as a Christian can, and should, be filled with laughter. Boy, did he have a great laugh, even if not all his jokes were worthy of laughter rather groans – but we still laughed together. It is hard to run and cry at the same time, but I did just that this morning as I thought of him. Tears of sadness for not having the chance to be with him for the past 20+ years. Tears of joy knowing he is now with his beloved Savior. What a wonderful family. What a great man. Thank you for making me a better man, for my wife, my kids, my family, my community, and our Lord.

Mary Kay Hess

November 10, 2018

Mr. Nichols and his entire family played such a significant role in the lives of my family.
We lived in Bridgeport, WV and Mr. Nichols chronicled our upbringing through photography which included toddler portraits, high school graduation portraits family reunions and weddings. He even helped me and my siblings surprise our parents with a portrait of us kids as a Christmas gift. It was amazing that we were able to pull that off and our parents were so joyful when they opened that gift on Christmas morning!! That portrait now hangs in my living room and I have the pleasure of seeing it everyday!!
Thank you, Mr. Nichols, for capturing such wonderful memories that will live on forever!!
May God’s grace and peace be with you and your family.

Ken Nichols

November 9, 2018

Oh, the 80s...

Rhea Grant

November 9, 2018

I will always remember Mr.Bell as taking all of the pictures from kindergarten to graduation. Most of all I remember spending the night at your house and your dad would tell jokes and make us laugh. Becky and family you are in my thoughts and prayers! God has gained another angle! Much Love! Rhea