Donald Orville Nichols
September 27, 1938 – February 28, 2022
Donald Orville Nichols of Kissimmee, Florida (formerly of Shelton, Connecticut) passed away the morning of February 28. Don is survived by his loving wife of 58 years, Jane (Jones). Born September 27, 1938 in Muscatine, Iowa, he was the son of the late Daniel and Ena (Abbey) Nichols.
Don received a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University and MBA from Stanford University. During his time at Iowa State University, he was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. He was also a member of Eta Kappa Nu international honor society for Electrical Engineering and a member of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society. He enjoyed ham amateur radio and was a member of the Institute of Radio Engineers and The American Radio Relay League.
Don joined the GE Management Program after graduation and married the love of his life, Jane Jones. They settled in California, and after a short stay in Arizona, moved to Kentucky and started their family. While in Kentucky, Don also taught Statistics in the evenings at the University of Louisville. They later moved back to Iowa for a few years and then spent 20 years in Shelton, Connecticut.
Don spent his professional career working at GE. During his time at GE he worked in Purchasing and moved to Electronic Commerce where he was instrumental in the implementation of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). Don enjoyed a great deal of travel with his positions and spent time in much of the U.S., parts of South America and Europe. He retired from GE after 30 years.
After retiring they moved to Kissimmee Florida. It was there that he found his second “career” and started working at Disney World. He was in various positions at some of the hotels, finally ending his career after 17 years as Ranger Don at the Wilderness Lodge. He loved his time as Ranger Don and had such a knowledge of the history of the Lodge. He wrote a detailed history of the decor and artifacts you see at the Lodge.
Don enjoyed volunteering his time with numerous organizations. Don was awarded membership in the Honorable Order of the Kentucky Colonels service organization. He served as a board member for the local fire department in Louisville and served as a loaned executive for the United Way.
Don was a great dad. Even though his work often had him traveling during the week, he was very involved in his girls’ activities. He never missed a swim meet. He took the time to become a USA Swimming certified judge and was President of the swim team parents’ organization. He was very proud of receiving the Valley YMCA Service to Youth Award.
Don had many hobbies that kept him busy. He was an avid reader and enjoyed tinkering with computers. Don had a true love of learning and spent his entire life seeking to learn about an impressive array of topics and enjoyed sharing his knowledge.
Don’s greatest pride was his marriage to his wife Jane and his two daughters. He loved being a grandparent. He enjoyed being able to be a part of his four granddaughters lives and proudly showed off their talents and accomplishments. His family has wonderful memories of times spent together at his home in Kissimmee and on cruises and vacations to Disney, the Keys, the Poconos and many others.
Besides his wife, he is survived by his daughters Meg McCabe and her husband Mike of Glastonbury, CT and Beth Cavalieri and her husband Brett of Marlborough, CT and his granddaughters Erin and Grace McCabe and Kristin and Paige Cavalieri. He is also survived by his dear friends Jerry and Dianne Sudimick of Manning, SC. He is predeceased by his parents and his sisters, Alice Jeter and Marilyn James.
Don’s quick mind and great sweet tooth will be missed by us all. His family will join together to celebrate his life this summer.
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