Mary Jane Nickelson
Mary Jane Nickelson
  • March 20, 1926 - December 30, 2017
  • Atlanta, Georgia

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Mary Jane Bell Nickelson, 91, passed away peacefully on Saturday, December 30 at Canterbury Court in Atlanta. She was born at Emory University Hospital on March 20, 1926 to Alexander Windel Bell and Jane Caroline Harding Bell. She was preceded in death by her parents, her grandparents who raised her from ages 3-12, Alexander Bell and Helena Windel Bell, her stepmother, Laura Russell Bell, who was "Mother" to her from the age of 12 on, her loving husband of 66 years, the Reverend Jay Victor Nickelson and her son, Lee Hardemen Nickelson.

At the age of 3 she moved to Minot, North Dakota where she lived until she was 12 before returning to the Atlanta area where she graduated from Girls High and later attended Women's College of North Carolina at Greensboro.

For much of her adult life she followed her husband, a Navy chaplain, up and down the East Coast moving to New York, Georgia, Rhode Island, Florida, South Carolina, Massachusetts, Georgia, Virginia, and North Carolina with the four children and various cats, dogs, snakes, etc. in tow. She managed to make every place a home and an adventure. The family sang along the way as they traveled thousands of miles in their jeep, Nohak. Following Victor's military retirement, she returned to Georgia where her husband served at St. Anthony's and St. Edward's Episcopal churches in Winder and Lawrenceville.

She is survived by her children Jane (Jim) Haigler of Cartersville, Eileen Myers of Statham, and Mary (Rex) Smith of Alpharetta. Surviving grandchildren include Kathryn (John) Ballard, John (Cindy) Young/Bumgarner, Lee Ann Peppers, Ron (Karen) Smith, Walter Smith, Nathan Smith, Michael (Arielle) Haigler, and Alan Haigler; great grandchildren Maya and Toby Ballard; Emma, Leah and Sarah Smith; Bailey Haigler, Jasmine Horton; niece, Jen Nickelson and family, cousin, Laura Gordon and family and sister-in-law Agnusia Nickelson.

She is fondly remembered by her family and her friends and staff at Canterbury Court, where she spent the last ten years, for her warm smile and kind words that graced the lives of everyone she met. The family would like to express their gratitude to the many caring staff members at Canterbury Court, especially Stanley and Johnette and to her dear roommate Mary Robinson.

A memorial service will be held at St. Anthony's Episcopal Church in Winder, Georgia on Saturday, January 13, at 11:00 A.M. Internment will follow at the Statham Cemetery. There will be a reception at the church after the internment.

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to St. Edward's or St. Anthony's Episcopal Churches, or Camp Mikell, 237 Camp Mikell Court, Toccoa, GA 30577.