William Lynn Nickell was born in Tavares, Florida on October 6, 1928. He was the son of J. Blaine Nickell and Gertrude Dondanville Nickell. In 1931 the family moved to Morgan County where Blaine was raised. Lynn’s dad started a law practice in West Liberty that continued until his death in 1969.
Lynn grew up in West Liberty and attended the Morgan County schools. He participated in all of the athletic programs and was a drummer in the band. Upon graduating from high school, he attended the University of Kentucky for one year. He was a part of the University marching band as a drummer there. He transferred to Eastern State Teachers College, now Eastern Kentucky University, and graduated in 1949. While at Eastern, he lettered in tennis, track, and swimming.
His first job after graduating was the head coach of Salt Lick High School basketball team in Salt Lick, KY. He was twenty years old, probably the youngest high school head coach in Kentucky at that time.
On June 21, 1950 he married his sweetheart Leatha Nell Blair, daughter of Stanley and Eva Blair of West Liberty. They met in early high school and he was smitten from the beginning. They dated through high school and college. She, at Kentucky Wesleyan College in Winchester and he, at Eastern.
That year they accepted teaching jobs at Silver Grove High School in Silver Grove, KY. He was also an assistant coach and Leatha Nell was the choir director.
The Korean War Started June 25th of that year while they were on their honeymoon in Florida. Lynn knew he would have to enter the military service so they left Silver Grove and he got a job with Armco of Ashland, KY in June of 1951. He kept that job until he entered the US Air Force and left home on Christmas Day of 1951, when he began his four year tour of duty.
At MacDill Air Force Base, he was assigned to the Strategic Air Command and served two years at MacDill in Tampa, Florida where they lived. He was then transferred to Anderson Air Force Base in Guam, M.I.
To this marriage was born two sons, Billy Lynn who is married to Debra Ison Nickell, and Kent who is married to Kimberly Vater Nickell. He has four grandchildren, Lynzy Jade Carty (Jacob), William Stan Nickell (Rachel Devere), Allison Marie Barlow (Adam), and Joel Weston Nickell (Jessica Morgan). He has eight great grandchildren, Blaine Carty, Baylee Carty, Aurora Barlow, Weston Barlow, Lucy Mae Nickell, John Luke Nickell, Elijah Boone Nickell, Rose Elizabeth Nickell, and soon to be born, Asa Nickell. He is also survived by one brother-in-law & sister-in-law, Frederick Lane & Melinda Craft Blair; a host of nieces, nephews, and great & great-great nieces and nephews; and his three wonder loving care givers, Darlene Nickell, Melinda Day, and Connie Gilliam.
He was preceded in death by his parents, James Blaine Nickell and Gertrude Dondanville Nickell, his sister Betty Jean Wells, his brother James Merle Nickell and sister-in-law Gerleen Jones Nickell.
During Lynn’s lifetime in West Liberty, he has been active in community affairs, especially athletics, his church, and the West Liberty Kiwanis Club where he had been a member since 1960. Lynn became an elder of the West Liberty Christian Church in 1969. At the time of his death was considered an Elder Emeritus.
He has been named Morgan County’s Outstanding Citizen, which he was very proud of, chairman of the West Liberty Christian Church board, and Chairman of the Woodsbend Citizens Committee. He was a Sunday School teacher form many years, president and Lt. Governor of the West Liberty Kiwanis Club and a Lifetime Member of over 50 years.
He has authored over 25 books on Morgan County History and a contributing writer of articles for the Licking Valley Courier. He has been considered Morgan County’s Historian. One of his books, THE LAST TRAIN TO JACKSON, won the state award by the Historical Federation of Kentucky for preserving local history. He even has co-written several songs which he sent to Nashville and had recorded.
He was chairman during the organization of the Pleasant Valley Country Club and also its president for the first two years. Two committees he chaired of which he was the proudest to serve was the SAVE THE COURTHOUSE COMMITTEE, and the saving of the W.P.A. built Morgan County High School building. He also served on the Project Development Board for the new Morgan County Judicial Center.
He built the Freezer Fresh and helped bring in a bowling alley to West Liberty.
He had a love of gardening and automobiles. He loved his family and was devoted to his wife, sons, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. He loved his church and his community.
Lynn has been a devout Christian most all his life. He accepted Jesus Christ as Lord in 1938 and strived to serve Him throughout his life. He had a deep desire to have left his community a little better because of his life in West Liberty.
Funeral service 1 p.m., Monday, March 8, 2021 at the West Liberty Christian Church, with Bro. Hunter Fraley and Joel Nickell officiating. Burial will follow in the Salyer Cemetery, West Liberty, KY, with the Morgan County DAV to conduct military rites. Visitation from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., Monday, March 8, 2021 at the West Liberty Christian Church. Potter Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations be made to the West Liberty Christian Church.
Pallbearers: Stan Nickell, Joel Nickell, Jacob Carty, Adam Barlow, Clinton Blair, Tim Nickell, and Jamie Church.
Honorary Pallbearers: Elders of the West Liberty Christian Church.
COVID-19 regulations will be followed per the State & CDC guidelines. Please wear a face covering and practice social distancing.
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West Liberty Christian Church
P.O. Box 1, West Liberty KY 41472