Don Nichols

Donald Nichols

Don Nichols was born on a farm in Cresco, Iowa. Lindbergh’s famous flight when Don was eight years old, and a ride in a barnstormer’s bi-plane formed a desire to fly which Led to a 37-year career as a pilot for United Airlines. A long time resident of La Grange Park, he died March 21 of pneumonia in his home in Naperville, Illinois. After winning two Iowa high school wrestling championships, he attended the University of Michigan where he was twice Big 10 champion. In 1940, he gained a NCAA national championship and was voted “coaches outstanding wrestler of the tournament.” While at Michigan, he learned to fly under Roosevelt’s Civilian Pilot Training program before joining United Airlines in 1941. During World War II, along with many other airline pilots, he flew Pacific and North Atlantic routes under the military’s Air Transport Command. In 1943, he met and married Marjorie Harrison, a nurse turned stewardess. Don was also elected to two-terms as regional vice-president of the Air Line Pilots Association, and held several local council offices. He kept his love of fishing through his entire life. In the late ‘50’s, he learned from and helped his friend “Buck” Perry surprise Illinois fisherman by catching may large Bass in the Chain-of-Lakes; lakes previously thought to be “fished out.” Fishing introduced him to many new friends including Tom McNally, the former “outdoors” writer for the Chicago Tribune. Don is survived by a brother, his son, daughter, and four grandchildren. No services will be held, per Donald’s request.

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