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Vernita Linda Nickell, 84, of Columbia, passed away Friday, January 28, 2011, at University Hospital with her family by her side. Vernita was born on May 12, 1926, on a farm outside of Alfred, N.D. to the late Gotthelf and Margaret (Henne) Kurtz. She went to a country school five miles away by horse and buggy. She graduated from High School in Jamestown, N.D. and attended nursing school in Jamestown during WWII. Her love for people, especially her family, permeated everything she did. She always stood up for people less fortunate while believing strongly in being self reliant. On July 14, 1951, she married John Nickell in Randolph County, Ark. and he preceded her in death August 2, 1974. She worked as a nurse at St. Mary's Hospital in Jefferson City as well as served as Director of Student Health Services at Lincoln University. She raised her children in Jefferson City, and then moved to Kansas City in 1993, to be a more active participant in her grandchildren's lives. In 2009, she moved to Columbia. Vernita is survived by her son, Greg Nickell and his wife Angela; her daughters, Glenda Nickell and her husband David Williams and Karen Nickell and her partner Neil Hockley as well as her grandchildren, Alyssa Rootes, Devin Nickell, Drew Nickell, Jake Nickell, Sarah Hockley and Sean Hockley. She is also preceded in death by a daughter, Connie Nickell Mairose; six brothers, William, Wilbert, Clifford, Freddie, Edwin and Johnnie Kurtz; three sisters, Delila Beyer, Edna Conrad and Esther Reich. Funeral services conducted by the Rev. Tracy Cook will be held Saturday, February 5, 2011, at the First Assembly of God, 1100 N. 7th St., Columbia, Mo. at 12:00 p.m. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church. Burial will be in Mt. Tabor Cemetery in Atlanta, Mo. Memorials contributions are suggested to the Charity of the Donor's choice in memory of Vernita. Online condolences may be left for Vernita's family at www.heartlandcremation.com. Arrangements by: Heartland Cremation & Burial Society of Columbia. (573) 442-7850.