Shirley Mae Nicholson

February 27, 1932May 12, 2017
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SPARTA -- Shirley Mae (Kitchell) Nicholson, 85, passed away peacefully with loving family by her side on May 12, 2017.Shirley was born on February 27, 1932 in Butler, New Jersey where she grew up, graduating from Butler High School in 1949. She was the daughter of the late Lester and Linnie (Rude) Kitchell of Stockholm, NJ. Shirley was the devoted wife to Robert "Bob" Nicholson for 64 years and loving mother to Debra Nicholson (Phil Marcellus), Wendi Nicholson (Fran Hayden), Linda Nicholson (Scott McRoy) and Rob Nicholson. She was the loving grandmother to Dawn Lengen (Rob), Amy Marshall (Steve), Courtney Schmitz (Aaron), Phil "Boomer" Marcellus IV, Todd Coffin and Megan McRoy. Shirley was blessed with great-grandchildren Julia and Brooke Lengen and Hayden and Hannah Marshall. Her family was the pride and joy of Shirley's life, she always mentioned how lucky she was that most of her family lived very close, which was wonderful for regular family gatherings on holidays and for family celebrations.Shirley is also survived by her sister Evelyn, her husband Jaime Martinez and sister Joan from Delaware.Shirley was predeceased by her parents, her brother Lester Kitchell, her sister Elaine Rodda (Don Rodda) and sister Joan's husband Thomas Quinn.Shirley was also unfortunately predeceased in 2010 by her sweet daughter Wendi who passed away from an autoimmune condition called Scleroderma. Upon graduating Butler High School, Shirley worked in the human resources department for the Butler Hard Rubber Company in Butler, NJ. In 1953, Shirley married Bob Nicholson and moved to Virginia Beach, Virginia until Bob was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy in 1955. Shirley and Bob returned to Bob's hometown, Oak Ridge, NJ where they started their family and Shirley started her life as a "stay-at-home" mother having three girls in Oak Ridge while Bob grew the family's propane business, Eastern Propane Corporation. Shirley, Bob and the girls moved to Sparta in 1961 and son Rob was born in 1964.Shirley served as the corporate secretary for Eastern Propane for over 30 years and brought her love of involvement and volunteering to many organizations. She was active in the Sparta community serving as chairwoman of the Sparta Shade Tree and Beautification Commission, President of the Sparta Woman's Club for which she was a member for over 50 years and the founder of the Sparta Junior Woman's Club in 1970, an organizer for the creation of the Sparta Public Library, a member of the Sparta PTA, served many years as a class mother, was Sparta's representative on the Skylands Council, taught campfire songs to local Brownie and Girl Scout Troops and was a member of the Sparta Historical Society. In addition, Shirley spent years delivering meals on wheels, was state chairwoman for the Meals for Millions Foundation and the Dr. Thomas Dooley Foundation and served on the National Propane Gas Associations's scholarship committee. Shirley was a member of the Newton Memorial Hospital Auxiliary (Sparta Branch) and the Greystone Park Auxiliary. Shirley received numerous awards and recognitions over the years for her contributions towards community and humanity and was a member of the Oak Ridge Presbyterian Church.Over the years, Shirley and Bob opened up their home to host many community functions, some of which include: The Sparta and West Milford Lions Clubs, the Newton Medical Center Foundation, the Paulinskill Valley Trail Committee, The Newton Rotary Club, the New Jersey Audubon Society and the Sparta branch of the Newton Memorial Hospital House Tour.Shirley wanted to express her love for the sincere and deep friendships and wonderful times she enjoyed with her "Besties", Joan Harding and Marjorie Strohsahl. Shirley also wanted to express her sincere appreciation to the wonderful care givers at Atlantic Health and especially her precious care givers at the JDT Villa who enabled her to spend almost 2 more years enjoying her family and friends. Shirley was a wonderful and devoted daughter, sister, aunt, wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother who cherished her wonderful life with her loving husband of 64 years and the family they raised together.Visitation will be Thursday, May 18, 2017 from 3 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Sparta, 32 Main Street, Sparta, NJ. memorial service and celebration of her life will be held Friday, May 19, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Sparta, 32 Main Street, Sparta, NJ. Entombment will be privately held at the family mausoleum at the Oak Ridge Cemetery.Online condolences may be offered at Funeral arrangements are being performed by Goble Funeral Home, Sparta, NJ.In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that memorial donations be made to the Oak Ridge Presbyterian Church , P.O. Box 302, Oak Ridge, NJ 07438 or the Sparta Historical Society P.O. Box 312, Sparta, NJ 07871.



  • VISITATION Thursday, May 18, 2017
  • VISITATION Thursday, May 18, 2017



Shirley Mae Nicholson

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June 1, 2017

My second Mom. I will miss you and the great times we all shared when the girls got together. I am so so sorry to just learn of this. You know I would have been there to celebrate you. Dear family please accept my late condolences. Peace and love to all
Leslie Beamer Allaire - Sandy, UT


May 19, 2017

RIP Mrs Shirley your beautiful smile I always goin to remember

May 18, 2017

Dear Bob Rob and family.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. May your memories bring you comfort.
ilana and Steve Bitlisli
Golden Castle Jewelers.

May 18, 2017

Dear Bob, Rob and family,
Please accept my condolences on Shirley's passing. I remember how gracious she was when you hosted the PVTC meetings years ago. I always enjoyed chatting with her. It is never easy to lose someone you love, particularly a long time mate and a mother. I'm sorry I can't make her memorial service, but my prayers will be with you all.
Marge Barrett

Pam Hinds

May 18, 2017

I'm so sorry that Shirley is no longer with us but she is here in spirit. My condolences to the family and prayers for you all. She is at peace and no longer suffering. Will miss her smile and quit wit. She was a loving mother and wife.

Richard Dean

May 17, 2017

Bob and family, I am very sorry to learn of Shirley's passing. I can't imagine what you are going through.

Joyce Riley McCaskill

May 17, 2017

Heartfelt condolences to the entire Nichlson Family .

Barbara Roach

May 17, 2017

My sincere condolences to Bob, Rob and the entire Nicholson family. Shirley was a beautiful lady inside and out and will truly be missed. I am thankful for the time Shirley, Bob and I spent together at various propane events through the years with the New York Propane Gas Association. I am proud to call you friends. God Bless and rest in piece sweet lady.

May 16, 2017

I feel very blessed to have known Shirley, if only for a a short time. I loved seeing her every week, doing her hair and making her smile. She was a beautiful lady inside and out. Her wonderful attitude and bright smile are etched on my heart forever. Seeing the beautiful family she raised and the loving relationship she had with her husband is inspiring. I will miss Shirley. I feel my life has been enriched by having known her and Linda.

Peace, Love, Hugs and Kisses,

Wendy Gorham

May 16, 2017

Such fond memories of a lovely lady. We will miss her!

- Mike and Wendy