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Reba Charlotte Nichols

Our beloved Reba Charlotte Nichols (née Payton)...

Our beloved Reba Charlotte Nichols (née Payton) graduated to her heavenly home on Sunday, April 7th, 2024. Reba was born April 17th, 1953, to the late Charles Payton and Dixie Payton (now Edens). She left this earth surrounded with comfort, peace, and the devotion of her loving family surrounding her. 

Reba leaves behind her daughter, Kim (Ray) Morris; daughter, Shannon Hampton (Don Tate); son, James (Katie) Nichols; son, Jed Nichols; daughter, Katie Nichols (Ryan) O’Connor; and goddaughter, Hannah (Caleb) Schlager. She also leaves behind her mother, Dixie Edens; beloved sisters: Mary (Chris) Lohrstorfer and Kay Dina; brother, Roger McAleese (Becky Laswell); sister-in-law, Brenda Nichols; and her precious nieces, nephews, grandkids, and great grandkids. 

Though we deeply grieve her absence with us, we know she is now joyously reunited with her cherished husband, Jim Nichols; adoring son, Don Nichols; and beloved brother, Brian Doyle Cox – amongst many others she deeply cared for who went before her. 

When we think of her, a lot of words come to mind: adventurous, kind, loving, brave, confidante, compassionate, fierce, steadfast, hilarious, best friend, adorable, faithful, complex, forgiving, welcoming, delightful, witty… irreplaceable. To try and sum up her full and interesting life, worth, and impact into a few paragraphs is not possible. There’s too much goodness, humor, intellect, complexity, growth, and humanity – there aren’t enough words to do justice to the human she was. 

Reba was always up for a spur of the moment trip, adventure, or anything fun. She loved to travel and see the beauty in our world. No roadtrip was 

ever complete unless we deviated from the path to simply explore. She was the best at everything she did because her heart was always fully engaged. She was endlessly funny and loved humor – something she instilled and encouraged in her kids. Her wit and intellect left you craving her company and companionship after you parted. She gave the best advice and left you feeling valued and cherished, even if you were struggling. Her support and guidance encouraged everyone she knew – to know her was to be supported by her. No one hands out peace the way she did. 

Her love and devotion to her husband, Jim, was profound; he was her best friend and biggest cheerleader (their relationship was very reciprocal in that way). Knowing they’re reunited is a silver lining to the stormy cloud of missing her. Reba was a loving mother to all her kids – be they biological, step, in-law, or “extra”; anyone who needed love received it fully and without hesitation from her. No need went unmet, even if it seemed trivial. Her care was unmatched. 

She was the truest definition of a Christ-follower – she quite literally loved her neighbor, was kind to the stranger, cared for the widow, and exuded every fruit of the spirit. She never met anyone with unkindness (even if it would have been deserved). That said, she was not scared to stand up for injustice or call you out when you were in the wrong. Though some people in her life let her down, her faith in God and her love for Him never faltered. While she had more adventures to seek here, she possessed no fear in death – she knew who she was, and that the physicality of earth was only the beginning of her journey. The faith and hope she instilled in her loved ones burns like an everlasting ember in our hearts. 

She cared for people her whole life – her patients, church members, her kids, other people’s kids, her countless friends, and the people who others shunned and overlooked. No greater love does anyone have than to lay 

their life down for another; she illustrated this countless times without reluctance. As a nurse and parent-educator for 40+ years, the impact she had on people outside of her immediate circle is truly immeasurable. Her legacy of love, care, and education will live on through generations because of who she was and how she always poured herself into the sincere care of others. 

A celebration of life will be held later this summer. If you would like information on the service, please contact the family directly. Arrangements and cremation are under the direction of Cremations of the Ozarks. To leave an online condolence or memory, please visit

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