Diane Douglas Nicholas of St. Joseph, dedicated and loving mother, generous community volunteer, civic leader and a friend to all, passed away December 3 surrounded by her family.
Diane was born in St. Joseph on November 7, 1937 to Vivian and William Douglas. She graduated from Central High School and received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from University of Nebraska where she was also a member of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. She married Gene Nicholas on June 10, 1961.
Diane was a lifelong resident of St. Joseph and began her career teaching first and second grades. She was one of the first educators in the pilot Parents as Teachers program and also taught basic skills to children with special needs. Diane managed Deborah’s Gift Shop for many years where she enjoyed assisting future brides. She discovered her passion for real estate in 1989 and entered the profession as a sales agent with Sisson Co., Better Homes and Gardens. During her first year she was named Outstanding Newcomer of the Year. She was named St. Joseph Realtor of the Year in 1995 and went on to become president of the St. Joseph Regional Association of Realtors in 2001. Additionally, the Missouri Association of Realtors awarded Diane Realtor of the Year in 2003. Most recently, Diane was honored with the St. Joseph Regional Association of Realtors Civic Achievement Award in 2012. This award is presented to individuals who have benefited the community through professional leadership and civic minded activities.
Diane volunteered tirelessly for many community organizations and served as a board member of numerous groups including the Performing Arts Association, the St. Joseph Symphony, St. Joseph Board of Realtors, Girl Scouts, Family Guidance Center, and the St. Joseph Historical Society. She also held leadership positions and volunteered with the PTA, St. Joseph Riverfront Development Corporation, Chamber of Commerce, Leadership St. Joseph, Community Chorus, Junior League of St. Joseph as well as the Association of Junior Leagues Area Council. She was also a 30 year board member of Legal Aid of Western Mo. Diane began volunteering for the American Red Cross as a young girl and continued her service with the organization for more than 55 years. The Red Cross honored her with the Clara Barton Award for Meritorious Leadership as well as a life membership on the board of directors. Diane was a member of First Christian Church where she served on their board and sang in the choir.
Diane respected and celebrated her Osage Indian heritage and proudly passed down traditions to her children and grandchildren. She often spoke of her love for Colorado and the mountains. Those who knew Diane would agree that her proudest achievement was being a dedicated Mother and Grandmother.
Diane was the only child of Vivian and William Douglas who preceded her in death.
Survivors include Diane’s daughters, Nanette (Rick) Rice, St. Louis; Genny (Ann Abercrombie), Kansas City; grandchildren, Katy, Tara and Daniel Rice. She will be missed dearly by her family and friends and will always be remembered for her unfailing kindness and generosity of spirit by all that knew her.
Services: 10:00 A.M. Saturday, December 14, First Christian Church St. Joseph followed by a private burial. Interment Memorial Park Cemetery. The family will receive friends 5:00 to 7:00 P.M. Friday, December 13, Meierhoffer Funeral Home & Crematory. Donations may be made to the St. Joseph Chapter of the American Red Cross and First Christian Church of St. Joseph, MO. Online guest book and obituary at www.meierhoffer.com.