Someone once said, “A man’s bone and skin can be burned away into powder and ash, but what’s left is without form. Courage, duty and honor have no permanent home.”
Those words could not be truer in the case of John (“Johnny”) A. Nichols, Sr. He served our country proudly in the Vietnam war, and over the years afterwards in the Alabama National Guard (167 S.C.), retiring a few years ago with the rank of Master Sergent. Everything I’ve heard of this man over the years told me that he was a man of outstanding courage, duty, and honor, as well as discipline, compassion, and love. I see a lot of that man in my friend, his son, John.
His obituary in The Birmingham News read:
NICHOLS, JOHN ALFRED SR., 67, of Birmingham went home to be with the Lord on August 18, 2008. John will be remembered as a beloved father and husband. Visitation will be held on Wednesday, August 20 from 5:00 – 8:00 PM at Jefferson Memorial Funeral Home with chapel services beginning at 10AM on Thursday with Amy Vaughn officiating. Burial will follow in Jefferson Memorial Gardens East. Survivors include his wife, Deborah Martin Nichols; their daughter, Allison Nichols Gault (Geoff); their son, John Alfred Nichols Jr. (Miranda); nephew, James L. McCarty III and niece, Cathy Rogers (Doug); brother, Ed Maske (Marada); his beloved dog, Wiley and numerous friends and co-workers.
The funeral today was lovely. There were songs, fond memories, and tears shared by all who knew him. As we all stood around the grave site, the 167 S.C. — the men with which he had served — saluted, played Taps, and folded and presented the flag which was draped over the coffin to Mrs. Nichols. The service was beautiful.
I humbly ask that everyone please continue to keep John’s family and loved ones in your thoughts and prayers.