Ray Albert Nichols was born in Woodland, California on March 26, 1951, to Agnes Erickson Nichols and Vernon Nichols. He passed away peacefully on December 30, 2021, in Roseville, California. Ray is survived by his wife, Jean, to whom he was married for 48 years, as well as his three daughters, Vickie Nichols; Rachel (Dave) DeClerck; and Amanda (Lane) Lacroix. Ray is also survived by his six grandchildren, Brett Turnquist, Megan Turnquist, Cody Turnquist, Katelynn DeClerck, Freya Lacroix and Maryn Lacroix. In addition, Ray is survived by his sisters, Karen Holt and Janice (Joe) Orsini and his brothers, Eric (Wendy) Nichols and Greg (Debbie) Nichols and a multitude of nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews. Ray's sister, Verna Stevens, his parents, his nephew, Sam Nichols, and his brother-in-law, Jim Buckmaster, preceded him in death.
Ray was a man of many interests. He loved spending time with his children and grandchildren as well as other family members. His greatest joy was seeing all of his children, nieces and nephews grow up to serve the Lord and be successful in all they do. Ray enjoyed gardening, art, history, animals, camping, reading, drawing/painting, talking politics and religion and visiting family and friends. He loved classic cars, John Wayne and anything cowboy. He enjoyed attending his granddaughters' and grandson's soccer, volleyball, basketball, and baseball games and dance recitals and cheering them on. His grandchildren often said he was their biggest supporter.
Ray served in the Army during the Viet Nam Era. When he was discharged from the Army, Ray worked in the construction field for 27 years as an estimator and project manager. When the construction field suffered during the recession in the 1990s, Ray's good friend encouraged him to enter law enforcement. He became a security officer with the Cal Expo Police Department. That position prompted Ray to apply for the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office. He was accepted into the department and worked in the Security Services Bureau for 11 years, retiring in 2012.
Throughout his life, Ray was a very devoted Christian. Although he was raised Lutheran, he spread his wings and attended various non-denominational churches for a number of years before becoming a member at Newsong Community Church in Lincoln, California. He served faithfully in the churches he attended. Every morning would find Ray and his wife sitting at the dining room table reading their Bibles and praying for their country, family members, friends and whatever needed to be prayed for. Ray and his wife started a prayer ministry in their home in 2012, and the group will continue to meet to pray for the country and whatever else they feel compelled to pray for.
Ray will be honored at a private graveside service at the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery in Dixon, California. A Celebration of Life will be held at Creekside Church in Rocklin, California on Friday, January 14, 2022, at 1 p.m. This service is open to anyone who knew and loved Ray.
Ray, we loved you deeply and will miss you greatly. You are forever in our hearts.