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

Donald O. Nichols 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 brought him to Raleigh, N.C., where he spend 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 (Raleigh) and Preston Methodist Church. He was a member of the Lakemont Swim Club Board (Raleigh), volunteered for the Capital Area Soccer League "CASL" (Raleigh), youth soccer coach (Raleigh), Fillmore County Historical Society, Preston Tourism Information Center, Preston Methodist Church, Grace Lutheran Church (Raleigh), Meals on Wheels, and assisted with the Preston cod fish supper.

He could always be found on the sidelines cheering on his children and grandchildren in their sporting events, and supporting 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 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 stepgrandchild.

Funeral service wereheld Thursday, Feb. 21, at 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.

Riley Funeral Home in Chatfield assisted the family with arrangements. 507-867-4310.

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