Jerry Dean Nickel was born at Bethel Hospital on May 6, 1937, to Gerhard and Alice (Reimer) Nickel. He grew up on a farm near Elbing and enjoyed raising cattle for 4-H. He attended Elbing Elementary and then Foster, a one-room schoolhouse. He and his family attended Grace Hill Church, where he was baptized.
He went to Newton High School where he played basketball for John Ravenscroft, then spent one year at East Texas State on a full ride for basketball. He finished his degree at Bethel College. While there, he met Marlis Doell and they were married in 1960.
They moved to Indianapolis and Jerry worked at LaRue Carter Hospital to fulfill his 1-W service. Three daughters were born here while he earned his Masters in Recreational Therapy. In 1966, they moved to Wichita where he taught classes and coached. He moved to Goessel where he taught shop class and coached football, basketball, and track. He coached and taught at several other schools in the area.
Jerry and his family moved back to the family farm and took over the farming in 1977. After the girls graduated from Berean, he and Marlis lived in a variety of places, and he had a variety of jobs in sales.
Later, they moved back to Newton and began going to Grace Community Church. He worked with his brother Jim taking care of rentals until his retirement.
In retirement, he enjoyed helping with Awana Sparks, Sunday school, babysitting his grandchildren, watching his grandchildren play sports and music, and coaching basketball at Newton Bible Christian School. His favorite activity was to attend area high school and college sporting events and Hearts 4 Him and Sound of the Heartland concerts as much as he could.
He loved traveling to Children’s Haven with the Amigo Team, spending a week every year in Mexico at a children’s home. He was able to take some of his grandchildren with him on a few trips.
He lived Kidron Bethel for the past 15 years where he will be remembered for always treating the staff well, having a good sense of humor and a teasing joke. He died of complications of Parkinson’s on October 21.
He is survived by his daughters; Marcia Zuercher (Bernie), Linda Schroeder (Matt), and Lisa Nickel; his siblings, Liz Miller and Jim Nickel (Leanne), grandchildren; Tyler(Shelby) Schroeder , Tori (Brandon) Young, Trent Schroeder, Micaela Zuercher, Garrett Zuercher, and four great grandchildren; Jonathan, Levi, and Brayden Schroeder and Becca Young.
Jerry is preceded in death by his parents and great granddaughter Carlee Schroeder.
Graveside and inurnment services will be held at 9:30 A.M., Saturday (October 30th) at the Grace Hill Mennonite Church Cemetery, rural Whitewater.
Memorial services will follow at 11:00 A.M., Saturday at the Grace Community Church in Newton.
The family will receive friends on Friday evening (Oct. 29th) between 6:00 P.M. and 8:00 P.M., in the Fireside Room of Grace Community Church.
A memorial has been established with an Amigo Scholarship for Children’s Haven International and also to Newton Bible Church School. Contributions may be sent to Broadway Colonial Funeral Home, 120 E. Broadway, Newton, Ks. 67114.
There will not be a viewing as cremation has taken place.
Arrangements are by Broadway Colonial Funeral Home, Newton, Ks.