Russell D. Nichols

Russell D. Nichols, age 89, of Columbia, passed away Friday, October 28, 2011, at the Neighborhoods in Columbia. Russell was born August 26, 1922, to James Albert Nichols and Myrtle Elizabeth McDaniels Nichols in Boone County. He graduated from the University of Missouri Lab School. After high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1943 and served in the South Pacific during World War II. While in the service, he married Mary (Connie) Wigman on February 22, 1944, in Lansing, Michigan and she survives. Following the war, Russ joined the Missouri State Highway Patrol. After a distinguished career of 31 years, he retired as a Lieutenant Colonel and Assistant Superintendent in 1977. In 1978, Russ was appointed as Director of the Missouri State Fair for two years. During his retirement Russ enjoyed a second career in music. He loved circus music and had an extensive collection of band organs and calliopes. He would travel to grand openings and other events to play his collection. He was especially proud of playing and showing his larger machines. He also collected and refurbished Edison gramophones. Russ will be remembered by his wife Connie; nieces, Linda Atkins and Marilyn Andre of Columbia; as well as other nieces and nephews. At Russ's request there will be no memorial service. Russ's family suggests memorial contributions to THE MASTERS (relief fund for families of slain Highway Patrol officers), 5287 Highway 67 North, Poplar Bluff, MO 63901. Online condolences may be left at

Published October 30, 2011