Dick Nichols of Corvallis passed away in Philomath on February 19, 2016.
Dick, a fifth generation descendant of the Applegate, Miller and Huntington pioneer families, was born to Benjamin Hodge and Mary Huntington Nichols at Corvallis General Hospital. He attended Franklin Grade School, Corvallis Junior High School, and graduated from Corvallis High School in 1945. He then attended Oregon State College between June 1945 and June 1949 where he was a member of Theta Chi fraternity, numerous honor societies, and played trombone in the OSU Band. He graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering in 1949. He was elected to the OSU Engineering Hall of Fame in 1999.
Dick and Valerie Kerber were married on September 15, 1951, in Portland. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Valerie; their three children, Kevin Nichols, Lanson Nichols, and Heather Grimm; sister-in-law Esther Nichols; and brother-in-law Rodney Kerber. In addition, he is survived by 12 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; and numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Dick’s first job was for the Corvallis Gazette Times as a paper boy. That was followed by distribution of special delivery mail for the U.S. Post Office, fire trails in Peavy Arboretum, and fire watch for the U.S. Forest Service. After graduation, he worked for General Electric Company in Schenectady, New York, between 1949-1950 and 1952-1957, and the U.S. Army Signal Corps Research Laboratory at Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey, from 1950-1952. He spent the rest of his career between 1957 and 1994 with the Corvallis office of CH2M HILL.
Dick worked on a variety of projects and locations throughout his career. He began with an electrical system design for the Pasco, Washington, Water Treatment Plant. Other clients included Beale AFB, Consumers Power, Occoquan Sewage Authority, Islands of Trinidad and Tobago, Grant County PUD, Cowlitz County PUD, Hyperion Wastewater Treatment Plant, and the Max light-rail system throughout Portland. He also wrote original and updated master electrical specifications for CH2M HILL designs. He was a Registered Professional Engineer in Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, Colorado, Texas, and Virginia.
Throughout his career, he was heavily involved in the 360,000-member Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) reaching the level of fellow in 1987. He held numerous positions, including the IEEE Industry Application Society (IAS) treasurer, secretary, vice chairman, and chairman 1978-1985; IEEE Board of Directors 1987-1988; IEEE Foundation Director 1987-1989; IEEE Vice President for Educational Activities 1990-1991; IEEE Awards Board Chairman 1998-1999; IEEE Life Member Committee Vice Chairman 2002-2003; and IEEE Fellow Program advisory committees 2004-2008. He was a member of many IEEE executive boards, committees, subcommittees and advisory groups 1978-2008. He received the following IEEE Awards: IEEE Centennial Medal, 1984; IAS Distinguished Service Award, 1989; EAB Meritorious Service Award, 1994; and IEEE Millennium Medal, 2000.
Dick and his wife enjoyed their world travels to Hawaii, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Italy, France, Mexico, Venezuela, Spain, Greece, Switzerland, Singapore, Hong Kong, and numerous others. He also had a love of fine art, particularly the work of Michael Gibbons, and the Oregon Coast. His favorite hobbies included gardening, reading, woodworking, and eating ice cream.