Lee Roy Nichols (’67)

Lee R. Nichols, age 87, passed away May 1, 2020, at the Buckingham Plaza in Houston, Texas. Lee was born in Dallas, Texas, to Bonnie Oleta Medford and Alfred Lee Nichols of Dallas, Texas. He attended Adams High School in Dallas and assisted in coaching elementary school track. Lee graduated from the University of Houston with a Bachelor of Science in Math. On January 2, 1959, Lee married Katherine Ann Stevenson at the First Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas. Lee and Katherine met at Arlington State College and coincidently, both worked at Chance Vaught Aircraft. While working in aeronautics for Chance Vaught, Lee was recruited by NASA to work at the Johnson Space Center and the family moved to Friendswood, Texas. Lee thoroughly enjoyed his long career at NASA in engineering and contract management in addition to working with the Astronauts toward the first lunar landing. After Lee’s retirement from NASA, he continued working another decade for IBM, applying his expertise in negotiations, budgets, and contract management for the growing telecommunications industry. In addition, Lee was elected to the Friendswood Drainage District to address flooding issues in the area, serving as President, to implement key policy changes in flood control management. After retirement, Lee purchased acreage and cattle adjacent to Lake Palestine in Berryville, Texas, where he built a home and outbuildings. Lee enjoyed being a rancher, raising bull calves, growing a certified organic hay field, and developing an organic fertilizer business. Lee is survived by his wife Katherine Nichols; daughter Rhonda Nichols Brass and husband Mark of Florida; daughter Amber Nichols Gummelt and husband Gerald of Houston; and son Kevin Nichols of Conroe. One brother and two sisters survive him: Jack Nichols, Bonnie Newbill, and Katie Strickland. He was proceeded in death by his brothers Jody Nichols and Charlie Nichols.

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