Orville W. Nicholson

January 6, 1926June 8, 2018

Two of Us became One, for life (Always Together, Loving Forever)

Sometimes in life, if we are incredibly lucky and blessed, we find and marry our life partners/soul mates. Orville and Rea had such a relationship and for both it was the obtainment of a magnificent obsession and, quite frankly, it was magical. A war hero, who fought in WWII and Korea and received the Bronze star for heroism, met a stunning lady from Middleton Idaho and 6 weeks later they were married on December 30, 1947. Their song that they both loved and played often, not only on their wedding day but throughout life, was "Near You" by Francis Craig, a beautiful and haunting song.

After they married they saved enough money to move to and buy a farm north of Howe, Idaho where they carved out a living for 60 plus years. They lived at the base of a mountain in a very old log home with no electricity, no insulation, and no running water. Rea and Orville gave birth to a wonderful daughter who they loved and absolutely cherished and was their one and only reason for living.

After some time Orville had the idea to harness the power from three mountain streams, installed 10 miles of pipe, and with a lot of time and effort, developed a method to generate Hydro-power in a time when Hydro-power was not popular and in its infancy. They sold their generated power to a major power company and by doing so turned a barren desert landscape into a beautiful, thriving, area of Idaho. In addition, to developing Hydro-power they irrigated and farmed 1,100 acres of land as well as managing a few hundred dairy cows. The winters were hard and cruel and the summer days long, brutal, and hot. It was incredibly hard work and required the attention of Orville and Rea, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Because of their efforts, a peak in the Lemhi Mountain range was named after the couple for their pioneering efforts in Howe. The peak is named Nicholson Peak, is approximately 11,040 feet high, located in Butte County, and represents a man and woman's tireless and undying efforts to make the community, state and world a better place in which to live.

The Nicholsons were well respected pillars of the Howe community and were best known for their philanthropic endeavors helping to build and fund the Howe community center, elementary school, the Parsonage and Crusader Hall for the Little Lost River Bible Church as well as helping multitudes of local disadvantaged families in the community. In addition, Orville was a senior leader of the Lions club and traveled extensively, with Rea, throughout the US helping other organizations and families with their generosity. They were kind, compassionate, revered, and well-respected people whose kindness and compassion were second to none.

Their marriage lasted a wonderful and mystical 70 years. Orville and Rea passed away within a week of each other. Orville passed first and Rea, very soon thereafter, from a broken heart. They were, quite frankly, truly remarkable people who were passionate about their dreams and ideas. They took risks and used their passion, skills and kindness as a platform to help others.

In lieu of flowers PLEASE donate to the LIVE FOUNDATION, P.O. Box 50451, Boise Idaho, 83705. A visitation will be held in Orville and Rea's honor Friday June 22, 2018 from 6 to 8 pm at Buck Miller Hann Funeral Home, 825 E. 17th St. Idaho Falls, ID. 83404. A Funeral will be held Saturday June 23, at 10 am at Watersprings Church, 4250 S. 25th E. Idaho Falls, ID. Interment will follow at 2 pm at the Howe cemetery, Howe ID.


  • Visitation Friday, June 22, 2018
  • Funeral Saturday, June 23, 2018

Orville W. Nicholson

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Dale and Renee Eldredge

June 22, 2018

I have known Orville and Rea most of my life, they were like grandparents to me. There are so many memories of them that I don't know where to start. My family would drive to Howe out to their ranch and have dinners, fun and laughter and then make the drive back to Arco. When mom and dad would leave for a weekend, I would get to spend the night with Orville and Rea and I thought I was in heaven! Rea was such a wonderful cook and that chocolate fudge frosted cake is out of this world! Orville and Rea always took the time to come to mine, my brother and sisters events, such as, birthdays, sporting events, high school graduations, weddings and even my own daughter and son's weddings.

There are not enough good words to describe the hearts of gold that they had. I am just so glad that I was able to sit down with them last October at my own dad's funeral and talk to them. Even at that time, both of them where in wheelchairs and Nancy brought them to the service and afterwards I had to go to their car where Rea had made an entire dinner and deserts to give me and take back to mom's house for our family. The love and caring never stopped from those two, no matter their own health struggles.

Nancy, I am so sorry that Dale and I can't be at the service, but we have to help Trevor move cows, which I know Orville and Rea would totally understand which makes it just a little bit easier to cope with. Our prayers and thoughts are with you now and always.