In Memoriam -- Terry Nichols (T-1)
July 17, 2014
Terry Nichols, one of Turkey 1’s best, died at the age of 74
in a hospice on July 17, 2014, near his home of St. Paul, Arkansas. He was
diagnosed with terminal cancer three months prior to his death.
My wife, Judith and I spent a long weekend about a month ago
with Terry and his wife, Linda, and Nina Selz, another Turkey 1, who bought
a house from Terry and Linda, retired to St. Paul and was subsequently
appointed to serve as the mayor of this small community.
Terry was raised in a very religious family and was planning
to enter the ministry after college, but a year abroad in the Scandanavian
Seminar in Denmark, and working in a church during his senior year convinced
him this was not the path he wanted for his life. The Peace Corps was a
legitimate way for him to escape going to seminary, so he joined the
volunteers who became the first Peace Corps group to Turkey.
In his second year, after teaching in
the first year, Terry was selected to be a volunteer leader, given a Jeep,
and assigned to travel around visiting the volunteer teachers in the section
of Anadolu that included Adana and Kilis. Terry spent a third year in
Turkey working for Robert College, visiting Anatolian lises and recruiting
students to apply to the college.
Terry won a scholarship to the University of Chicago and
earned a PhD in sociology. His focus was in the area of family planning, and
he was involved in early use of computers in social science research. He was
in Chicago during the anti-war years and the 1968 Democratic Convention and
was greatly influenced by witnessing the social upheaval of that
time. After Chicago, Terry was hired to teach at the University of
Wisconsin/Green Bay. It was there that he met and married Linda Grom and
where their son Tannon was born.
By the late 1970’s Terry was ready to make a change in career
and location. He had discovered the area of Northwest Arkansas in the Ozark
Mountains. He initially went into real estate in the tiny town of St. Paul,
renovating and selling and renting houses. Along the way Terry developed
some very strong skills—electrical, plumbing, residential framing and finish
carpentry, and not least, he became a good diesel mechanic.
After a time, Terry
decided he wanted
to learn more pure science than he had gotten earlier at UWGB where the
emphasis was on more general environmentalism, very big there at the time.
So he got a BS in civil engineering at the University of
Arkansas and worked for several years in that field.
We arrived at Terry’s house, at the end of a tree-lined
driveway alongside a creek, a very quiet and comfortable spot. We spent the
entire weekend reminiscing, eating good food and enjoying our friendship
with Terry and Linda, a special relationship with Tannon and other mutual
Terry was just recovering from a major seizure, and a week
of unconsciousness brought on in reaction to chemotherapy. Treatment was no
longer available to him. However, he was not distraught. He told me that the
experience--the loss of a week--made him feel that nothing mattered, that
achievements, competence and skills are of little matter. We agreed that
failures and shortcomings are of little matter as well.
Terry reviewed his life experiences. He placed a high value
on the freedom to do something new and different almost every day and on the
life he and Linda made together. He had no regrets and was ready for the
end of his life.
Prepared by Warren Pritchard, other friends, loved ones
think of Terry as our one Folk guitarist, the first of a large number; two
in T-2, a couple in T-4 and a whole bunch by T-8, many 12- string. Rest in
Peace Terry. Thanks for keeping us singing.
August 21, 2014