Farm Animals 10

William "Bill" Stewart Nicholson

January 1, 1935 ~ February 14, 2022 (age 87)

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William “Bill” Nicholson left this world to enter heaven at the age of 87 on February 14, 2022.  He was a New Year’s baby born on January 1, 1935 at Klamath Valley Hospital and passed away at Sky Lakes Medical Center in Klamath Falls surrounded by his family.  It is a blessing that Bill always lived an independent and active life. 

Bill graduated from Chiloquin High School in 1953. He attended Oregon State University until joining the Army in 1955. He served overseas, stationed in Germany for 18 months, accompanied by his then wife Donna (Fensler).  They eventually became parents to five rowdy Nicholson children.  Upon being honorably discharged in 1958, he returned to work on the family cattle ranch in Fort Klamath alongside his father, Stewart Nicholson, until his passing.  Bill changed his career path and became a realtor specializing in ranch sales, eventually founding Nicholson and Co. Upon retirement, Bill moved back to the Nicholson ranch in Fort Klamath. Over the years, with the committed help of Butch Wampler, the working cattle ranch has continued to survive. Butch and wife, Jennifer, were always very special friends to Bill, which has also been a blessing to our family.

Bill had several passions throughout his life, one of the most notable being his involvement with the Masonic Lodge for 59 years, becoming a Life Member of the Klamath Lodge. Bill was also very involved with Hillah Shriners for 58 years. He served as President of the Klamath Falls Shrine Club in 1970, Director of the Ashland Court in 1993 and Potentate of the Shriners in 1988.  His lifetime of service led him to become an Emeritus Member, Board of Governors of Portland’s Shriners Hospital for Children, an accomplishment of which he was very proud.

In the last decades of his life, Bill enthusiastically pursued his interests in local and family history.  He served on the advisory board of the Klamath County Museum, at one point acting as the board chair.  Since 2015, he was a member of the Museum Foundation Board. He was also involved with the Fort Klamath Museum. Undeniably, his biggest personal accomplishment to honor history was the museums he created in the two barns on the Nicholson family ranch in Fort Klamath. He was particularly proud of the ranch becoming an Oregon Century Ranch in 2017. The horse barn contains family history alongside Wood River Valley history.  One noteworthy display documents many local barns that were once part of the landscape but are now lost to time.  The old milking barn contains local history of several families from Fort Klamath and other interesting stories from the area.  For years, Bill and neighbors, Jim and Cissie Popson, hosted a 4th of July celebration held at the Nicholson ranch. It included a spectacular fireworks display and a community potluck barbecue that hosted hundreds of friends and family.  He loved to see everyone enjoy the evening and he especially enjoyed showing off the barn museums. 

Over the years, Bill tried to be present to witness and support the many special events of family members, such as high school or college graduations and sporting events. He also became a collector of coins and had a nearly complete collection of silver dollars.  He enthusiastically watched rodeos, both live and on the Cowboy Network.  He also was an avid listener to the Willie Nelson XM radio station.  Bill was set in his routines and once he began any task, including what he made for breakfast, he wouldn’t change it until he “got tired of it”. He was committed to walking at least 5,000 steps a day, right up until the end. 

Bill is survived by his sister, Marie Bethea and four sons, Larry (Karen) and grandsons Ryan (Kat) and Ben; Gary (Deborah Jones) and grandson Jesse and granddaughter Kenzie (Nico Morales) and great grandson Lucas; Brad (Terri) and grandson Austin (Karlee) and great granddaughter Oaklynn; Jeff (Mary) and grandsons Teddy and Bradley and granddaughter Anna; one daughter, Lisa Zimmerman (Gary) and granddaughter Lindsay (Roberto Certa) and great grandson Kai, and granddaughter Kelsey. Preceding Bill in death were his parents Stewart and Anita Nicholson; and his loyal canine companions, Penny and Cassie.

A celebration of Bill’s life will take place at the First Presbyterian Church in Klamath Falls on Saturday, March 12, at 11am.  A reception, including refreshments, will follow the service in the Fellowship Hall. Then a procession with burial will take place at the Fort Klamath Historic Cemetery where his involvement and passion in restoration were integral to creating heaven on earth for eternal rest. 

In lieu of flowers memorial donations can be made to Portland Shriners Hospital for Children ( the Fort Klamath Historic Cemetery P.O. Box 454 Fort Klamath 97626 or Klamath County Museum Foundation 1451 Main St. Klamath Falls 97601.








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Celebration of Life
March 12, 2022

11:00 AM
First Presbyterian Church (Oregon)

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