A memorial honoring and remembering Cornell Keith Nicholson will be held at Rhema Bible Church in Broken Arrow. Rev. Bill Ray will be officiating. Nick passed away Saturday, April 16, 2022 in Tulsa. He was 71 years old.
Nick gave his life to Jesus on Easter 51 years ago. Ever since then, the love of God was clearly demonstrated everyday throughout his lifetime. Kind, sweet, patient, faithful, forgiving, and gentle are words that best describe him. He leaves behind a host of family and friends to cherish his memory.
Born September 4, 1950 in St. Louis, Nick, or Keith, as he was lovingly called by his family, was the son of Charles Wesley and Leona Kirksey Nicholson. He attended Gundlach Elementary, Mason Middle School, and graduated from Vashon High School with the Class of 1968. He mastered the bass sousaphone from an early age, eventually becoming a member of the St. Louis Philharmonic. Nick once played with Jack Benny at the Powell Symphony Hall. He could play bass guitar, upright bass, the tuba, trombone, and most any low brass or stringed instrument. Though he was truly a musical prodigy, Nick's spirit was filled with humility throughout his lifetime.
During his early years, Nick enjoyed camping and spending time outdoors. He experienced great success moving up the ranks of the Boy Scouts, eventually earning the highest of honors. Following high school, Nick enlisted with the U.S. Air Force, serving honorably during the Vietnam Conflict. He would soon meet Carole Richard, the love of his life, at the ABC Music Store, which her parents owned. They were married August 11, 1974 in Honolulu.
Nick and Carole were relocated to Council Bluffs, Iowa where they welcomed three beautiful children, Becky, David, and Mike. He was stationed at the Offutt Air Force Base located across the Nebraska state line in Omaha. During this time, Nick worked part time for the railroad. Upon his discharge from active duty, he moved his young family to Broken Arrow where he aspired to attend Rhema Bible College. Nick also joined the Oklahoma Air National Guard as a medic for the 138 th Fighter Wing.
The Nicholsons would make Broken Arrow their home. Nick continued his career in healthcare with City of Faith, Saint Francis, and St. John hospitals. He also taught music as an adjunct instructor for Broken Arrow and Tulsa Public Schools. Many beautiful memories were made during Christmas seasons when Nick organized and directed Tuba Christmas, a choir made up of all tubas, in concert at the Promenade Mall. He was truly the best of the best! During the 90’s, Nick and Carole found fellowship with the Polynesian community, forming a band they called “Makani Kai.” The musical group performed numerous paid gigs throughout the years and enjoyed celebrating their Hawaiian culture together.
A strong spiritual leader, Nick graduated from Rhema Bible College and was a devoted member of Rhema Bible Church. So many people looked up to Nick for spiritual advice. He volunteered countless hours along Carole at the Prayer and Healing Center. Nick was also an alter care leader for many years at Rhema. His musical gifts served the church well, playing a multitude of instruments in the orchestra for Grace Fellowship and later at Rhema Bible Church.
Following the passing of his beloved wife, Carole, Nick eventually met Phyllis Powell while serving at Rhema’s early morning prayer service. Phyllis brought a great deal of peace to Nick’s life for which his family is very grateful. The couple had plans for marriage in June.
Nick was known by many to be “King of the Coals” on his barbeque grill. He loved cooking St. Louis style ribs, pork steaks, polish sausages, Saturday morning blueberry pancakes, and fried rice was undoubtedly his specialty. He referenced anything chocolate as “coffee food.” As contemplative as he could be, you could drop him to his knees with bathroom humor! And, it was no secret that Nick had a great appreciation for luxury cars. Many Sunday afternoons following church were spent dreaming at the Cadillac dealership. He always had luxury car brochures lying around the house.
Surviving family members include his children, Becky Hernandez, David Nicholson and wife, Wanda, and Mike Nicholson and wife, Samantha; his fiancé, Phyllis Powell; his grandchildren, who affectionately referred to him as “Poppy” or “Poppy C”, Haley, Garrett, Devon, Danie, Aaron and Simone; and his sisters, Rhonda Curry and Kelly Nicholson.
Nick was preceded in death by his wife, Carole; his parents; and his brother, Charles W. Nicholson, Jr.
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