Shirley Mae Nicholson

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  • Shirley Mae Nicholson

— 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.

A 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.

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