Mary Lee Nichols, 81, of North Platte, died unexpectedly Feb. 26, 2020, at Great Plains Health. Mary Lee was born in Norfolk on March 10, 1938, to Leo Martin and Florence Martha (Waechter) Prauner. She graduated from Battle Creek High School in 1956 and then attended Norfolk Junior College, graduating in 1958. After graduation, she went to work in Norfolk. On June 19, 1960, Mary Lee was united in marriage to Jack Lee Nichols at St. John Lutheran Church in Battle Creek. The couple lived in Norfolk where Mary Lee stayed home with the kids. The family moved to Chadron in 1970 and then to Morrill in 1987 with Jack's job on the railroad. They moved again in 1991 to North Platte where they have lived ever since. Mary Lee was active in her church, Our Redeemer Lutheran, and the North Platte community, where she helped with Meals on Wheels and Compassionate Friends. Jack and Mary Lee could often be seen at the Senior Center on Wednesday evenings for the dances; he liked dancing and she liked watching. Mary Lee loved gardening, nature watching, feeding the birds and dogs. She was a fan of Nebraska sports and enjoyed watching sports on television. She also liked going to garage sales and thrift stores. Mary Lee was a great wife and mother who loved her family, especially her grandchildren. Mary Lee was preceded in death by her son, Merritt; brother-in-law, Nile Evener; and her parents, Leo and Florence Prauner. She is survived by husband, Jack; daughter, Kimberly Nichols of North Platte; son, Jeff (Sarah) Nichols of Fredricksburg, Texas; grandchildren, Elizabeth (Kevin) Clink, Adeline Gardner and Robert J.M. Gardner; sisters, Lola (Tom) Brockman of Norfolk and Joyce Evener of Bellevue; and other family. Online condolences may be shared at odeanchapel.com. In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the Orphan Grain Train or Our Redeemer Lutheran Church. Funeral service will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 3, at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church with Pastor Daniel Ramsey officiating. Burial will follow at Fort McPherson National Cemetery, near Maxwell. Visitation will be from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, March 2 , at Odean Colonial Chapel at C & Sycamore, which is in charge of arrangements.
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