This memorial website was created by the family and friends of Patricia (Pelton) Nichols as a way for those who knew her and loved her to pay tribute to her life. 

Patricia P. Nichols passed away peacefully on Friday May 14th, 2021 after a brief hospitalization at Manatee Memorial. Pat was born on November 25, 1935 in Henderson New York to Eunice Mather Pelton and George Pelton. She was the oldest of four girls affectionately known as "The 4 Sweet P's"  and loving sister to Penny Cool, Polly Brown and Pam Maracle. She graduated in 1953 from Union Academy in Belleville, New York and completed her undergraduate in Nursing and graduate degree in Public Health from Syracuse University. She married James E. Lynch in 1958 and continued to work as  a clinical nurse educator while raising 3 children (Michael Lynch, Jeffrey Lynch and Laurel Lynch Beeler). She moved to Michigan in 1972 and continued to share her passion for health education through her work within the Birmingham School District and The Michigan Department of Education. She enjoyed golf, international travel, debating politics, red wine, the Florida sunshine and especially her four-legged best friends (Patty and Bella). She was an amazing Mother and a spirited friend to many. She is survived by her 3 children (Michael Lynch, Jeffrey Lynch and Laurel Lynch Beeler), 8 grandchildren, 1 great-granddaughter, her sister and brother-in-law (Polly & David Brown) and several nieces, nephews and cousins.

A family Memorial service in upstate New York will be scheduled in early July in keeping with her wishes. Our sincere thanks to those who have contributed to this memorial. We'd welcome those of you who knew and loved Pat to share your special memories through this website.  

Posted by Nancy Haney on May 15, 2022
We celebrated with family on Saturday while honoring our grand nephew and his graduation from the University of Montana. There were many people who supported him and pushed him to achieve his goals. It is so fitting to be thinking of Pat at this time and remembering that she was the inspirer and supporter for so many young people. Miss her. She would have told our nephew, "You have this!"
Posted by Bev Schroeder on May 14, 2022
Next month I will receive the "Lifetime Achievement Award" from my professional organization. I could not have achieved this award without the support and wisdom from Pat. I continue to be very grateful for the life she led and all the people she touched along the way, including me. Thank you Pat!
Bev Schroeder
Posted by Mary Ann George on May 14, 2022
It's been a year. I miss her and celebrate her life and all the ways she has influenced my life. Thank you, Pat!
Posted by Bev Schroeder on July 17, 2021
Many years ago, Pat gave me these words of wisdom. I was considering leaving my job in public health and take one in education, working with the Michigan Model curriculum. With her finger pointed at my nose, she said, "Now you listen to me. Before you leave your job, you make sure you have a competent replacement, so the work you have started will continue. That is the most important thing you can do." 
Two weeks ago I retired. I wanted this message to be more timely, but I was following Pat's wise words, making sure my very competent replacement had everything she needed to continue the work I started.  
Pat was one of the wisest women I knew. Her determination and resilience brought health education to millions of children in Michigan and throughout the United States. She had a wonderful sense of humor and her smile was warm and sincere. I am so grateful for Pat's strength but most of all for her wise words. I obviously never forgot them and I will never forget her!
Posted by Ellen Ives on July 11, 2021
When I think of Pat, I think of energy, determination, competence, kindness and compassion. I knew her in the context of work on HIV/AIDS education, and she was a leader of thoughtfulness, strength and reason in the face of many who opposed the work. I loved watching her in meetings, as she stayed so calm and purposeful and always with a good touch of dry humor. She was a true advocate for all students and for education firmly rooted in best practices and science. I am so glad to have had the opportunity to work with her, and my thoughts are with her family and friends.
Posted by Paula Parise on June 9, 2021
Pat was such a breath of fresh air! She was a delight to work with, and I am honored to call her friend. Pat was a straight shooter and a woman of honesty and integrity who cared deeply for other people, especially young people. When Pat held up her hand, showing you her palm, and said "Listen to me," you were well served to do just that. Her wisdom and candor were highly valued. I had the pleasure of working with her on multiple projects including health education and early childhood programs. She let you know her expectations, then she trusted you to make it so, doing everything in her power to remove any barriers to success. Her sense of humor made working together fun and her desire to leave the world a better place made it rewarding. The world lost one of the good ones. She will be greatly missed.
Posted by Judy Lynch on June 9, 2021
I guess my friend, Pat, and I could be labeled “the odd couple” because we were both wives of James Lynch. From her marriage I was given three stepchildren I love as my own. Pat and I got to know each other attending graduations and then weddings and then sharing grandchildren. And what happened along the way is she and I became friends…good friends. I admired Pat’s wisdom, honesty and humor. We shared a love of politics, good books, the enjoyment of golf and bridge, but especially we shared our love of family, I will miss her.
Posted by Patti Steele on June 9, 2021
Pat was a friend and mentor. We met in the early 70s when I was a school nurse and she was a high school health teacher in Birmingham. I knew she was special when I visited her classroom. The kids loved her. Later she was my graduate school advisor and helped me to follow her in the Health Education Dept at WSU. Pat was smart, kind and one of the "founding mothers" of school health in Michigan. I'm so glad she got to enjoy so much of her beloved golf in her retirement. She will be missed.
Posted by Anne Hansen on June 5, 2021
It seems like yesterday that Wanda Jubb came to me and said, "We have to hire Pat Nichols. She knows school health, has great experience and is really good." And Wanda was right. Pat expertly and fearlessly navigated the sometimes stormy waters of the Michigan Model, the CDC HIV-Aids grants, and the creation of guidelines for school administration of medications for students. Pat and I also became friends. We golfed on a regular basis and took two international trips. She was one of a kind. I feel so fortunate to have known her. 
Posted by Laurie Bassett on June 5, 2021
Pat was a force to be reckoned with. Always a strong presence and committed to helping those she worked with. I did not have the privilege to work with Pat as long as some of my colleagues, but I will never forget her compassion for school health education and the state of Michigan. She was a wonderful mentor to so many.
Laurie Bassett
Traverse Bay Area ISD School Health Coordinator

Posted by Don Sweeney on June 3, 2021
Pat Nichols was the consummate "School Nurse" taking care of friends, colleagues and all the children of Michigan. Her contributions to school health will be a lasting tribute to her well lived life.
Posted by Nancy Haney on June 2, 2021
Health education in Michigan is forever changed because of the wisdom and passion that Pat brought to her work each and every day. She nudged me to move from my comfort zone to learn new skills and to be a stronger educator. She was steadfast in times that were challenging. I admire that she often worked quietly in the background to influence policy and programs. I loved it when her "I/you've/we've got this smile" crept to her face. I am privileged to have met Pat while working and sharing common goals, and even more privileged to have experienced her friendship.
Posted by Mary Ann George on June 2, 2021
I am so grateful for the opportunity to know and learn from Pat. I treasure our professional relationship. She never wavered from keeping the welfare of young people as her guiding force. She was recognized in Michigan and nationally as a clear thinker and someone with the courage and strength to be honest about “what needs to happen” for youth and the planning skills to achieve it. However, it is our personal friendship that I will miss the most. We shared a love for theater, travel, good meals, and a little wine! She taught me to love Tony Bennett and to read between the words used by a newscaster or written in a book. She introduced me to Mt. Dora and the horse farms near Ocala. We walked dogs together. We could sit and chat for hours. I love you, Pat, and will miss our times together.
Posted by Wendy Sellers on June 2, 2021
Pat was a force for good in Michigan school health. Her nursing training and experiences, combined with her clear-eyed vision for healthy children and adolescents, gave her a skill set that advanced school health. Many of us who worked with Pat benefitted from her leadership and example. Professionally, I am grateful for the opportunities she gave me to grow and contribute. Personally, I am grateful for her confidence in me and her matter-of-fact approach to life's challenges. At my post-divorce gathering, she gave me a back-scratcher and her sage wisdom about moving forward. Thank you, Pat! May her memory be for blessing.

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Nancy Haney on May 15, 2022
We celebrated with family on Saturday while honoring our grand nephew and his graduation from the University of Montana. There were many people who supported him and pushed him to achieve his goals. It is so fitting to be thinking of Pat at this time and remembering that she was the inspirer and supporter for so many young people. Miss her. She would have told our nephew, "You have this!"
Posted by Bev Schroeder on May 14, 2022
Next month I will receive the "Lifetime Achievement Award" from my professional organization. I could not have achieved this award without the support and wisdom from Pat. I continue to be very grateful for the life she led and all the people she touched along the way, including me. Thank you Pat!
Bev Schroeder
Posted by Mary Ann George on May 14, 2022
It's been a year. I miss her and celebrate her life and all the ways she has influenced my life. Thank you, Pat!
her Life

Patricia Nichols - Forever The Care Giver

Patricia Anne Pelton was born in Henderson on November 25th, 1935 and grew up on a farm in Belleville, New York. As the eldest daughter of Eunice and George Pelton, Pat was a high achiever from an early age. Her sister Polly shared early memories that "Pat, being the first born "Pelton Sweet P" was very intelligent, studious and popular. Of course being younger, Penny and I thought she was the favorite daughter...hence her nickname "Queenie". She always had a partially read book in her possession and and keen sense of humor". At a very early age Pat perfected "the look" that became one of her signature expressions that let you know she was way ahead of you.

She graduated high school from Union Academy in 1953 as the class Valedictorian and editor of the Tower. In 1958 she completed her undergraduate degree in Nursing from Syracuse University. That same year she married James Lynch of Ovid New York and gave birth to her first child, Michael David Lynch. In 1960, Jeffrey Thomas Lynch was born and in 1962 Laurel Elizabeth Lynch joined the family. 

In her early career within the Syracuse and Albany area, Pat held various positions as a psychiatric nurse, a school nurse and also began her career in health education. In 1972 Pat and her family moved to Troy Michigan where she expanded her career within the Troy & Birmingham school districts. She completed her Masters in health education while co-parenting 3 teenagers... thus she was her own success story for work-life balance. Pat was passionate about raising her children to be resourceful and independent, much like herself. In looking back, she had the "parental patience and insight" to allow her kids and those she worked with to learn by their own mistakes. She was always there to provide family and friends with her guidance, love and support. 

She and Jim divorced in 1972 and stayed friends for the rest of their lives. She remarried Tom Nichols in 1977 and continued to invest her talents and ambitions to ensure that the "next generation of young adults" have every opportunity to learn about health and well-being. As shared by her long-time friend and colleague Mary Ann George (Doty), "She was a champion for children's health and an advocate for youth throughout her professional career. In the late 1980s, her leadership and vision led to her role with the Michigan Department of Education. She developed model policy and curricula for HIV prevention in concert with the CDC. In the early 1990s, Pat became the Supervisor for Comprehensive Programs in Health and Early Childhood for Michigan. Pat also worked on the Michigan Model and lead the development of the Michigan Governor's Reading Plan. Pat left her mark nationally by encouraging other states to learn from Michigan's experiences". She retired in 2000 as the Deputy Director of the Office of School Excellence at the Michigan Department of Education. During her retirement celebration, several team mates shared their stories about Pat's legacy and her approach to life. A few heart-felt quotes from Laurie Bechhofer demonstrated everyone's appreciation for Pat's style and passion:

    • "your belief in the knowledge and power of young people"
    • "your belief in eliminating the 'isms' and prejudices that get in the way of us reaching those in greatest need"
    • "your belief in teaching people to fish rather than giving them the fish"
    • "your belief in doing the right thing and doing it quietly"
    • "your pragmatic "get it done" approach"
    • "your depth and compassion as a human being, mother, grandmother as well as a professional".
    • "Pat must have been the most "hip" mom in the world, telling her children all of the facts of life by the time they reached the ripe old age of 2".
In addition to Pat's busy professional career, she loved to play golf and to travel. She often spoke enthusiastically of her golf outings and weekly league play with the women from Lansing. Dinner and a glass of good red wine at Dusty's Cellar were her favorite end of the week rituals.  Although her children are alumni from 3 different fine Michigan universities, she always had a sweet spot for the MSU Spartans (Go Green Go White). She was the rare Grandmother that could talk passionately about college football, college basketball and the professional golf tour with her grandsons, while also making darn sure they were working hard at school. She relished history and was fortunate enough to travel to England, Scotland and Wales with her sisters Polly and Penny. She was a life long learner and embraced new cultures so she joined several international travel trips to Thailand, New Zealand and France. 

The opportunity for year-round golf, sunshine and proximity to family brought her to Leesburg Florida and to the Pennbrooke Fairways golf community. She was an active member of the community board and enjoyed her expanded circle of friends and generous neighbors. While in Leesburg she also became engaged with the local poodle rescue program and fostered several aging dogs back to health. (She found yet another way to apply her nursing background and nurturing nature)!

In August 2021, in the middle of a global pandemic, Pat single-handedly sold her house, packed up and moved to Bradenton Florida to be closer to the beach, to be near her good friends and to simplify her life. She was remarkably resourceful (along with very stubborn) and quickly learned that everything anyone might need to buy is available via the internet. (We're convinced that she was on a first name basis with the Amazon and J. Jill delivery guys). She was so proud of her family and humbly watched from afar as her legacy lives on through the next generation. Even into her final days, she enjoyed keeping in touch with her grandchildren, friends and family via her iPhone, Facebook posts, cards and letters. You always knew what was on her mind, what she believed in and what she valued based on her posted ideas and political satire. She was a rare person who unselfishly shared her wisdom and truth with a quiet voice of reason. She lived a big life for such a little lady and truly "paid it forward" to all who knew her as a mother, sister, aunt, grandmother, golf buddy, professional counterpart or life long friend.

Please take a few minutes to share your stories and memories. Remember her as she would want you to envision her... sitting on her patio, quietly smiling, listening to her favorite piano serenade (Claire De Lune), a glass of pinot noir in hand, while watching a Blue Heron's silent meandering along the water's edge before it takes flight into the evening sky. 
Recent stories

Getting kids R.E.A.D.Y. for school.

Shared by Jan Ellis on June 3, 2021
I had the pleasure of getting to know and work closely with Pat at the Michigan Department of Education.

We were charged by the Governor and Superintendent of Education to develop a program to help parents understand the importance of early learning and to give them various tools (books, learning activities, Sesame Street music, growth, nutrition, health information, A Rob Reiner “I am your child”video cassette... With the support of the early childhood unit and health units in the department the R.E.A.D.Y. kit was born.

What an action packed, incredible journey we had with R.E.A.D.Y. This national award winning program distributed more than 1 million free kits to parents, especially those at risk, over it’s life. Thanks in large part to the manufacturing and distribution network (Pat and Paula Nettleton at CMU) put together.

Pat was one of a kind girl. Her knowledge, common sense, vision and humor were a magic combination. She made the hard work and journey so much fun.

I will never forget her retirement party, in which to my surprise, she proclaimed the R.E.A.D.Y. program one of her crowning jewels. In reality, Pat was one of our crowning jewels.

How lucky I was, to be part of her journey. 

My sincerest condolences to her family and all of her many friends. She will be greatly missed. But, always in our hearts.