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Richard McDowell Nichols
April 21, 1931 ~ January 20, 2023 (age 91) 91 Years Old
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Richard “Dick” McDowell Nichols of Gainesville, Georgia, passed away peacefully with friends at his side, on January 20, 2023, at the age of 91.
He was born on April 21, 1931 in Cynthiana, Kentucky to the late Henry Lansing and Ruth Reynolds Nichols.
Mr. Nichols was a 1949 graduate of Cynthiana High School, attended Washington & Lee University and the University of Kentucky earning a bachelor’s degree, while also earning a Master of Arts degree in education. He was also a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity.
Mr. Nichols had a respected and distinguished professional career. He was a faculty member at Harrison County (KY) High School where he served as assistant basketball coach, head baseball coach, and instructor of U.S. History. Following his time at Harrison County High, he served in the U.S. Air Force earning the rank of 1st Lieutenant.
After his service in the military (Air Force), Mr. Nichols was employed by Riverside Military Academy (RMA) in Gainesville, GA, which has become his close family for the last 60 years. Known by his RMA rank of Colonel Nichols, he served as history, government, and economics instructor from 1962 until his retirement in 2000. Through his tenure, he also served as basketball coach, associate principal, athletic director, activities director, drama director, and advisor for the Horton Society. Mr. Nichols was largely responsible for RMA hosting cross country and track invitationals, region meets in basketball, wrestling, and track, plus bringing the Georgia State High School Championships in both Swimming/Diving and Wrestling to the school’s campus. Additionally, he became the “voice of Riverside”, serving as the announcer for RMA athletic events, even after retirement. Nichols was named an honorary alumnus of Riverside Military Academy in 2015 and was inducted into the RMA Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.
In 2006, Nichols became a member of Riverside's Board of Trustees and was later named an emeritus member of the board. Through the generosity of RMA Alumni, the basketball arena was re-named the Richard M. Nichols Arena and the Richard M. Nichols Scholarship Fund was established in honor of his long standing service and accomplishments to the school. He took great pride in attending 60 consecutive RMA Commencement ceremonies, and presenting the Nichols Top-Athlete Award at Silver Taps every year since the scholarship’s inception.
Staying true to his Kentucky roots, he was a life-time supporter of University of Kentucky athletics, especially Wildcats Basketball. In his free time, he was known to travel the world and became a “Master-level” bridge player with the Lanierland Duplicate Bridge Club. Mr. Nichols was also a valuable member of the Gainesville community, giving back as a volunteer with Meals on Wheels, and Northeast Georgia Medical Center.
Dick Nichols is survived by his nearest and dearest friends Barbara and Coach Errol Bisso, RMA class of 1961; their daughter Maria Bisso of Gainesville, GA; their son Richard Bisso, class of 1985, of Gardendale, AL; his entire Riverside Family of alumni and friends; and members of his bridge club.
A memorial service will be held on Sunday, February 5, 2023, at 2:00 p.m. in the Richard M. Nichols Arena at Curtis Hall located on the campus of Riverside Military Academy with a reception will follow.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his honor to the Richard M. Nichols Scholarship Fund at Riverside Military Academy. Mail to Office of Advancement, 2001 Riverside Dr., Gainesville, GA 30501 or online at www.riversideprep.org/make-a-gift.
Those wishing to send online condolences to the family may do so at littledavenport.com
Little & Davenport Funeral Home and Crematory, 355 Dawsonville Highway, SW, Gainesville, Georgia 30501 is in charge of arrangements.