Donald O. Nichols, 76, of Preston, died after a courageous battle against leukemia, on Monday, Feb. 18, 2013, at Roches-ter Methodist Hospital.

He was born in Winona on Nov. 19, 1936, to Vernon Adry and Francis Geneva (Johnson) Nichols. In 1954, he graduated from St. Charles High School as an avid athlete. He attended St. Olaf College and Winona State University.

He married his wife of 56 years, Ellen J. Thomas, on July 27, 1957, at Pilot Mound Lutheran Church. He joined IBM in 1956 which took him to Raleigh, N.C., where he spent the next 30 years raising his family. He retired as a quality engineer in 1992, returning home to Minnesota shortly thereafter.

He was a devoted member of Grace Lutheran Church in Ral-eigh and Preston Methodist Church. In Raleigh, he was a member of the Lakemont Swim Club Board, volunteered for the Capital Area Soccer League "CASL" and was a youth soc-cer coach. In Preston, he was active in the Fillmore County Historical Society, Preston Tourism Information Center, deliv-ered Meals on Wheels and assisted with the Preston codfish supper.

He could always be found on the sidelines cheering on his children and grandchildren in their sporting events and sup-porting their activities. He was an avid RCTC girls soccer fan, enjoyed playing and watching all sports, reading, playing cards, genealogy and devoted his life to his family.

He will be dearly missed by his wife; his children, Denny Nichols of Henderson, N.C., Denese (Timothy) Lecy of Byron, DeeAnn "DD" (Jim) Himli of Fountain, and Deb (Jason) Hare of Wykoff; his five grandchildren; and four step-grandchildren.

He is preceded in death by his parents, a brother, and one step-grandchild.

Funeral services were held Thursday, Feb. 21, at the United Methodist Church in Preston, with the Rev. Michael Smith officiating. Burial was in Grandview Cemetery in Rochester.

Memorials may go to the Preston Ambulance Service or Mayo Clinic Cancer Research.

Online condolences may be made at www.rileyfuneralhomes.com.