Leona Louise (Baraga) Nichols, 94, Wisconsin Dells, passed away peacefully in her sleep on March 2, 2019.
Leona was born on May 8, 1924 in the Upper Peninsula town of Channing, Michigan. She was the youngest of nine children of Karl and Louise Baraga, who immigrated to the United States from Austria.
After graduating from Channing High School in 1942, Lee moved to Milwaukee to attend the Business Institute of Milwaukee. She was working as a receptionist at the Allis Chalmers Company when she was introduced to Clayton Nichols through a blind date. They married on Sept. 15, 1945. Lee moved to Clayton’s family farm in Adams County, where they raised five children and lost one infant son.
Lee was treasured by her family and friends for her kind and loving ways. Everyone knew the “door was always open” at the Nichols farm because of Lee’s hospitality. She was a wonderful cook and a great maker of pies. She made homemade ice cream, delicious jams and canned garden vegetables. Lee was a caring and devoted mother who encouraged her children to pursue higher education and to each follow their passions.
Leona loved to travel with Clay in their antique cars, and they enjoyed trips to Europe, Central, and South America. Leona was a fun travel companion for her children because she was curious and interested in learning more about the world, and always up for a new adventure.
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She was honored to attend the 50th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor in Oahu, Hawaii where President George Bush memorialized lost servicemen, including her brother Joseph Baraga.
Lee faithfully served the Davis Corners United Methodist Church Ladies Aid. Until the age of 87, you could count on Lee’s warm smile at every event the ladies were asked to support. She worked tirelessly for the county election board, serving at County elections for over thirty years. Lee was president of the Adams County Homemakers and later served as a state officer to the Wisconsin Homemakers Board. She was proud of the work this organization did to improve communities and education.
Lee was a leader for 4-H and helped many children, including her own, learn new skills and gain confidence through 4-H meetings and projects.
Lee was preceded in death by Clayton C. Nichols, her husband of 63 years; and by all of her siblings.
She is survived by her children, Patricia Harrington of Sun Prairie, Kendal (Marci) Nichols of Wisconsin Dells, Janet Nichols of DeLand, Florida, Barbara (Michael) Morkri of Mt Horeb, and Carrie (Jeffrey) Hoye of Watersound, Florida; beloved grandchildren, Megan Nichols Martin, Gunnar Morkri, Matthew (Bryany) Weigel, Nathan (Emily) Weigel; and great grandchildren, Joe, Andrew, Claire, Macy, Clark and Zoey; as well as numerous loving nieces, nephews and friends near and far.
Leona’s family wishes to thank the staffs at the Sun Prairie Health Care Center and the Lighthouse of Sun Prairie for their loving care.
Leona’s memorial celebration of life will be held 1-4 p.m. Sunday, June 9, 2019 at the family farm.