Richard B. Nichols (Dick) was born April 5th, 1929, in the old Mercy Hospital in Roseburg, Oregon.
He grew up in Brockway, and in his early years, attended school in the old schoolhouse on the homeplace. He used to joke that he got his revenge as an adult by using the school as a haybarn.
Dick attended Roseburg High School, where he lettered in football, basketball, baseball and track. After high school, he attended Oregon State College (OSU), earning a degree in business with a minor in agriculture.
Although Dick received job offers from Boeing and other corporations; he decided to stay with the family ranching business. He instituted many positive changes such as encouraging the partners, his father, Harold and uncle, Sid, to become Nichols Brothers, Inc. When the livestock industry underwent sweeping changes during the 1960s through the 1990s, Dick’s farsighted guidance kept the business afloat when many historic ranches in the area went under. He gave back to the industry through his service on the Oregon Beef Council and the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association. One of Dick’s favorite highlights was an historic meeting in 1974, with President, Gerald Ford. Over the years he was on numerous boards and committees – locally, statewide, and nationally. He hosted ranch tours to delegates from Chile and Africa. Although he was a shrewd businessman, Dick never took advantage of others, but always placed relationships before short-term gain. If he could help others collectively, that was the course he chose. In 2008, Dick was honored with the Douglas County Livestock Association Pioneer Award.
As with the cattle industry, Dick served on numerous governmental and civic committees. Decades of service on the Roseburg and Winston Parks Commissions are examples of his lifelong dedication to the community. His love of music was legendary as he co-founded both Music On The Half Shell and Riverbend Live!. Though a visionary, he could not have imagined the impact of these events. This also is true for the Winston Area Community Partnership. The dream of a community center for all to enjoy was truly fulfilling. All of these endeavors produced lasting friendships.
Who knew, that in a chance meeting in a cattle pasture, Dick would meet the love of his life, Muriel Jorgenson (Mo). It was the beginning of an unwavering friendship that would last for the rest of his life. On July 31, 1987, they were married and life would never be the same. They shared a love for the arts, people, Hawaii, and the ranch. Above all, they shared a deep, abiding love for each other. Mo took “till death do us part” literally, as she held him in her arms while he took his last breath.
In 2008, Dick received the Winston Area Chamber of Commerce First Citizen Award, and lastly, and most fitting, he and Mo received the McClellan Award for lifetime achievement a day before his entered the hospital with pneumonia.
He leaves behind his wife, Muriel (Mo); his sister, Beverly Merchep; son, Rodney Nichols, whom he loved dearly; nephew, Greg Merchep; grandchildren and great-grandchildren, cousins and a community of friends who mourn the passing of a man who was larger than life, but oh, so humble.
A Celebration of Dick’s Life, his 90th birthday party, and sharing of a love story will take place on Friday, April 5th, 2019, at 2 p.m. at the Winston Community Center. Although he had many favorite charities, in lieu of flowers, Dick would love memorial gifts to be given to Riverbend Live! Music On The Half Shell, or the Winston Teen Center in care of Taylor’s Family Mortuary, PO Box 583, Winston, OR 97496.
Due to parking limitations, shuttle service from nearby Community Baptist Church and the Foursquare Church parking lots will be provided.