In Memory

John Byron Nichols - Class Of 1961


Byron J. "John" Nichols II, 1943-2019

St. Clair Shores resident Byron J. “John” Nichols II, 76, passed away Thursday, July 18, 2019.

He was the devoted son of Byron J. and Jean Nichols, who predeceased him; dearest father of Kelly Reynolds (Ben) of Grosse Pointe Farms and Anders Soderberg (Laura) of Harrison Township; proud grandfather of Molly, Michael, Nicklas and Melena Reynolds and Frederick Soderberg; dear brother of Bruce R. Nichols (Mary Ann); uncle of Bruce Jr., Anne Nicholls (George) and Ellen Casazza (Andrew) and great uncle to Rosalie and Ted Nicholls.

John was born March 1943, in St. Louis, Mo., and moved to Grosse Pointe in 1953. After graduating from Grosse Pointe High School in 1962, he drove Dodge factory-sponsored quarter-mile drag race cars during the early days of the National Hot Rod Association. Upon graduation from Western Michigan University, he served in the U.S. Army. He was assigned to the 7th Battalion, 8th Field Artillery Regiment and served a 13-month tour in Vietnam from 1968 through 1969.

John was an auto racing enthusiast from boyhood, avid boater and gentleman farmer. He demonstrated compassion toward animals throughout his life. He had many friends along the Nautical Mile in St. Clair Shores.

A memorial gathering will be scheduled in the future.

Donations may be made to American Veterans at or the Michigan Humane Society at

go to bottom 
  Post Comment

07/26/19 10:02 AM #1    

Gary Walker (1961)

I was the Big Brother of John at MI Delta. His father Byron was the head of the Dodge division of Chrysler and like many of the WMU students from Grosse Pointe and Birmingham/Bloomfield, he was well taken care of financially. His Dad did attend a father/son event at school, so John seemed to have a good family relationship. John was largely the quiet kind but loved the friends that SAE brought. I lost track of him after I graduated and was unaware of his service in Viet Nam. I had heard that he had some issues in life subsequently and I do not know of any of our generation that served in that war that came back "whole." I am heartened to read that he apparently married and had children, which hopefully gave him some solace in the balance of his life. To my knowledge, he never attended any of our Detroit Alumni events. He would have been welcomed. Bless his sole.

Gary Walker


07/27/19 08:46 AM #2    

Robert Taylor (1961)

I was very fortunate to have managed to complete my service obligation before things went crazy after getting the boot at the end of my sophmore year, 1961, and then returning to resume class in 1964.  John was one of the greatest guys who went out of his way to help me get worked back in to the Chapter.  And I had the pleasure of living with him as a room mate until I graduated. We started out in some apartments west of campus where as I recall we had some pretty great social events.  For our senior year we moved to some new place just down the hill from East.  Place was not even finished when we moved in.  Pat Cunningham, Pig Pen, was our third room mate.  That spring the Chapter had a weekend near Saugatuck.  Nick's dad had sent him a brand new Dart or something similar.  Had a 45 record player in it.  Think we wore out our copy of Help Me Rhona in it - just drinking and dancing in the sand for most of the night.  Have so many great memories of a truly great brother in the bonds.  

PA - Toad




07/31/19 07:05 AM #3    

E. Frank Rice (1961)

John was my roommate at Lovell Street Apartments '65/'66, with Tom Walker and I think Jack Anderson, I'm a little hazy on that part.  John would go home on many weekends and come back with a new Dodge car, whatever the newest production was.  He also had a new Triumph motorcycle that he kept at school.  John was a very social guy, the highlight of Spring 1965 was the "CHAMPAGNE PARTY" that John hosted and paid for.  He filled our bathtub with ice and cases of champagne.  We must have had 40-50 people in that apartment, a real wild time.  John was such a good Brother, roommate, and guy.  He will be missed.

E. Frank Rice 1967


go to top 
  Post Comment