William Mark Nichols | the dash between the dates

William Mark Nichols was born on September 30, 1986 to Dick and Cindy Nichols. He was the fourth of five in their original tribe of seven (that continues to expand) who grew up on the little dairy farm outside Lewis, Iowa.

Mediocre did not exist in his vocabulary. From the time he could walk, William’s mischief was worthy of superlatives. His imagination led him to search through cupboards, toolboxes and engines to create things like a lawn mower go-cart, a telephone pole cabin, and a giant, floating dock called the Hornswaggler.

Many would say he was the best at being loyal, the best at giving advice, the best at shooting off fireworks, the best at problem solving, the best at power naps, the best at listening, the best at laughing out loud, the best at middle-of-the-night excursions, the best at building things, the best at encouraging others, the best at car talk, the best at sing-dance-screaming, the best at cheering people on, the best at sincerity, and the best at loving his wife with a servant heart.

He wouldn’t say he was the best at anything, because he didn’t like to talk about himself.

Irrepressible, that’s what his mom calls it. It was his ability to show up for family and friends when they were in need – his ability to produce hearty laughter or a bargain car part or a perfectly timed witty remark or the right type of old wisdom. He did not rush conversations with Grandpa in the shop, did not hesitate to go out of his way to celebrate someone else’s success, and rarely turned down an offer to dance, especially in a car. His strength made everyone believe he was invincible, including himself.

What William wanted to love most was also what made him most strong: Jesus. William’s faith in Jesus Christ fueled his efforts as an athlete on the sports field, as a counselor and mentor at Bethany Camp, and on every crazy, daring, fearless adventure. His faith looked like loving teammates and campers and friends with a steady fierceness that made people want to be in his circle. He wasn’t exclusive about his generosity. If he had something you needed, he would find a way to make it yours.

William attended Iowa State University and graduated with a degree in Agricultural Engineering, although most would say he never needed the degree. He worked as an engineer at Quality Manufacturing in Urbandale, Iowa and at Sierra Conveyor Company in Rocklin, California. He was determined to be a man of integrity in school, at home, and at his work. He was involved in intramural sports, Campus Crusade, family tailgates, garage sale-ing, snowboarding excursions, and many road trip escapades to California, Canada, New York and Europe with the friends he counted as brothers.

When William met Grace Kristy in 2007 at Bethany Camp, his love put a permanent dorky grin on his face and he spent the whole summer trying to impress her. After three weeks, he asked her to be his girlfriend on the roof of the cabin he built. For the next seven years, Grace was his joy. He loved serving her, adventuring with her, sharing her gifts with family and friends, and living everyday life with her. In their love for each other, they worked hard to serve and love well. They demonstrated Christ’s love to each other and to others, encouraged many to find hope in Jesus and they were determined to do the hard work of marriage to the glory of God. He was a better man because of her love.

William died in a car accident on August 2, 2014 near Sacramento, California. He was preceded in death by his grandmother, Avonell Nichols; his nephew, Isaac Nichols; his mother-in-law, Wendy Kristy; and his grandmother-in-law, Mary Ann Kristy. He is survived by his wife, Grace Nichols; his parents, Dick and Cindy Nichols; his grandparents, Joe and Phyllis Sponsler, Fletcher and Colleen Nichols; his five siblings, Sam (and wife Bethany), Christina, Caroline (and husband Patrick), James (and fiance Carly); and his niece and nephews, Natalie, Levi, and Joel; his father-in-law, Scott Kristy; his brother in law (and wife Erica) Ben Kristy and their son Grayson; Grace’s grandparents, Bill Kristy and Ken and Judie Whitham. William is also survived by a whole host of cousins, aunts, uncles, friends, and honorary brothers and sisters.

A Celebration of Life will be held at 10:30 am on Friday, August 8, 2014, at the Evangelical Free Church in Atlantic. The family will be present at a Visitation from 6:00 to 8:00 pm (with a prayer service at 7 pm) on Thursday, August 7, 2014 at the Evangelical Free Church. A Celebration of Life will also be held in California on Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 4:30 with a reception to follow at Covenant Community Church in Vacaville, California.

William’s family encourages a contribution to a memorial fund that will be established in his name. Memorials will be distributed to ministries that were important to Will, including Bethany Farm Christian Camp, Freedom for Youth, and In Faith Ministries, supporting Sean and Rebecca Trostrud.


Find all the writings on grief at this link and join with us as we mourn in hope.

11 thoughts on “William Mark Nichols | the dash between the dates

  1. “The Dash between the Dates.” What a PERFECT way to say it. Your brother clearly was an amazing person- richly blessed by God and in turn a rich blessing to others …. and continues to be.

  2. Caroline, you have a gift of writing and enjoyed reading your blogs. This is a wonderful tribute to your brother. Hugs to all of your family.

  3. I was so shocked and sorry to hear of Will’s sudden death this past week. My heart and prayers go out to Grace, Dick and Cindy and the extended family. Unless you’ve been there, as I have, it’s hard to understand, but God is with you all and you will receive His loving care and comfort through friends and family. Hugs to all and may God grant you the comfort you all need in the upcoming days. Deb & James Bieker

    1. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers, Deb. It sounds like you have had some grief in your life as well. Though it might always be confusing, we know and believe the Lord is in control, that He is good, and that He always gives us exactly what we need. Thank you again.

  4. I saw this through a friend’s share on fb. So sorry to hear of your family’s loss. I was a fellow AE student with Will at Iowa State. We were not close friends outside of class, but always got along as part of the ABE family. Still probably had hundreds of conversations with him, whether talking about class, or just handing out in Davidson Hall. I remember in Dr. Bern’s grain handling class, Will would be sleeping and Dr. Bern would ask a question to the class. He would call out “Nichols”, awakening Will to answer the question. I think Dr. Bern got as much humor out of it as the rest of the class. I have wondered from time to time where Will ended up after graduation, and it looks like he has had quite an adventure. My thoughts and prayers are with the family.
    Brian Balvin, 2010 ISU Ag Engineering grad

  5. Small world. Smaller still when we’re related through Christ’s blood. And then our worlds overlap. For I live near Sacramento. Tugs my heartstrings to know your loss occurred here. But know that my prayers reach to the Heavens, and across the continent on your family’s behalf.
    May William’s legacy continue to bless others.

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