Mary Louise (Porter) Nichols was born September 16, 1920 in Battle Creek, Michigan to George Harold and Velma Jane (Kenyon) Porter.
Her siblings consisted of two brothers - Robert Charles Porter (Born on the 4th of July) and Marvin Lawrence Porter and one adopted sister, Jane Eigenbrode Porter. Her brothers have preceded her in death.
Mary Lou went to school in Battle Creek and graduated in 1938. She furthered her education by attending a local Vocational School where she took a Secretarial Course. She excelled in typewriting at 92 words per minute. In order to increase her shorthand skills, she listened to Jimmy Fiddler on the radio and would take down his program in shorthand. He talked very fast!
The second semester began on-the-job training. She went to work for a patent attorney. When she asked for a raise after six weeks, and she gave a $1.00, and moved on with the teacher's (Mrs. Schemerhorn) approval.
Receiving a call to fill in during a vacation for five lawyers for a two-week period turned into nine and a half years!
While out to lunch one day she saw an advertisement to "Join the Service". She went to the recruiting office and signed up to become a member of the United States Coast Guard on January 15, 1944. Mary Lou was stationed at the Coast Guard Training Station in Palm Beach, Florida. Her most memorable experience was being part of ship's company -- great officers and training new bootees as they arrived.
One day she was called into the office of Captain Keaster. Mary Lou had applied to go to Cooks and Bakers School. His question was "Why are you going to Cooks and Bakers School as a candidate with recommendations such as these?" He was holding letters of recommendation which he had received from the group of lawyers where she had previously been employed. She became a Yeoman 3rd Class (Same thing as a secretary). It was her duty to refresh enlistees that had secretary potential in typing and shorthand to replace men in the fighting line.
It was during this time that she met the "man of my dream's" - Robert Eugene Nichols of Pauls Valley, Oklahoma. He was stationed aboard the 390 Sub-Chaser in the Atlantic waters. She was determined not to let him get away. They were married at the First Baptist Church in Palm Beach by Rev. Ira P. Knight on February 6, 1944 at 1:00 PM. They were so excited they couldn't even eat their lunch! She and Bob experienced many things together and have had a wonderful time. She was honorably discharged on February 21, 1945. She earned the American Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory Medal.
Together they were blessed with three girls: Sandra Louise Strickland and her husband, Doug, of Pauls Valley, Oklahoma; Barbara Jeanne Tolleson and her husband, Don, of Windsor, Colorado and Cynthia Ann Alexander and her husband, Dean, of Mustang, Oklahoma. Further blessings came with six grandchildren, Denise Brown and her husband, Robert, of Lafayette, La., Eric Strickland of Ada, Christie Price and her husband, Todd, of Argyl, TX, Jennifer Salter and her husband, Jeff, of Fort Collins, CO, Robert Smith and wife, Carrie, of Chicago, IL and Shannon Tolleson of Plano, TX.; and eight great grandchildren, Danielle and Megan Brown, Carter and Hayden Price, Ayden and Ryan Salter, Caleb and Zion Smith.
Bob's work took them to several different places to live including Ranger, Texas, where he worked for Service Pipe Line; Battle Creek, Michigan, where he worked for Michigan Carton Company and finally back to Pauls Valley, Oklahoma where he worked 30 years for the United States Postal Service.
Mary Lou began working in 1954 as a secretary for James T. Jackson in the Pauls Valley Chamber of Commerce. From there she went to work for Sohio Refining Company and then in 1958 went to work for Kerr-McGee Refining Company in Wynnewood, Oklahoma, retiring from there in 1982.
She was a member of the First Baptist Church of Pauls Valley where she served as Church Organist for seventeen years. She felt that this was her way of giving back to the Lord.
Her hobbies have consisted of: Bowling - always trying to beat her last game. She did have two perfect games of 300. Oil Painting - she took several lessons and enjoyed making things come to life. Her girls have several of her paintings in their collections. She learned to do techniques such as sandblasting, painting with a "Q-tip" and painting on glass. Dog grooming - she had a poodle so she learned the proper grooming procedures and had several customers on a regular basis. Seamstress - She made most of the clothing that her girls and she wore. Gardner - Mary Lou loved to plant pretty flowers. Other activities and hobbies include: scrapbooking, reading, playing the piano and organ as well as ceramics.
She also participated in the activities of the Pauls Valley Chickasaw Senior Site. She worked the taco sales and was responsible for sending birthday cards to all the elders.
Funeral services will be held Friday, May 3, 2013 at 2:00 pm at Stufflebean-Coffey Chapel of Remembrance officiated by Pastor Kenny Kelly and Dr. Joe Elam. Interment will be at Mt. Olivet Cemetery under the direction of Stufflebean-Coffey Funeral Home. We invite you to send a message of condolence and view the family's guestbook at the top of this page.