Catherine Nicholls 1920-2015 and John Nicholls 1915-2007
Catherine "Katie" Nicholls (95) passed away peacefully in Burbank on December 15, 2015, surrounded by her family. Catherine was an active member of the Burbank Community where she lived for over 83 years.
Catherine was born in Glasgow, Scotland in January 1920 to George and Jeannie Hunter. Her family emigrated, through Ellis Island, to Schenectady, New York when she was just 3 years old. When she was 7, her family moved to Detroit, Michigan and then on to Burbank, California when she was 12 years old. Catherine graduated from Burbank High School in the Winter class of 1938. She always loved to dance and spent many summers dancing away with the many popular Big Bands of Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman, at the Avalon Casino on Catalina Island.
She met the love of her life, John "Johnny" Nicholls, when her parents were running a Boarding House. Johnny was born in Mineral, Washington, December 1915, and had come down from Malone, Washington to attend Aeronautical School, which, during World War II, offered him a position at Lockheed Aircraft supervising the production of the P38 Lightning Aircraft. John and Catherine were married on June 26, 1942. Together, while owning and operating a Motel and Upholstery Shop, they raised five children. They joined the First Lutheran Church and enjoyed being in a Square Dancing Club while the children attended the Church and School.
In 1961, they moved into one of the First Electric Medallion Houses in Burbank. Johnny had taken the entire summer off to build the home on a lot that Catherine found, with only a pool on the property. They lived there 13 years while John worked many years for Axvall Instruments, as a Tool and Die Maker and Catherine worked for the Burbank Central Library, as a Library Clerk. John became a 32nd Degree Mason and together they worked as Realtor's and became members of the Burbank Historical Society. Catherine also volunteered with the State Elections for over a decade. After their five children were raised and married, they enjoyed boating in their 35 foot Chris Craft and then traveling and camping in their 30 foot motor home. They spent many summers visiting John's family in Washington; along with many trips with the Burbank Elks Lodge's Roving Antlers; as well as, many boating trips to Catalina with Catherine's cousins: Jean Sparks & Rena Stumbo Ryde.
Above all, family was one of the most important part of Catherine and Johnny's life. They attended, as well as hosted, many family gatherings where John always told his family how proud he was of each and every one of them. The most famous was the Nicholls Family Christmas party held annually. After Johnny's death on February 9, 2007, Catherine continued on with the tradition of hosting the Annual Family Christmas party each year. She also hosted St. Patrick's Day parties and Thanksgiving Dinner each year.
Catherine will always be remembered for her ageless beauty and boundless energy. She was always ready to go at a moment's notice. She continued dancing away for many years, (well into her early 90's), at the Joslyn Senior Center in Burbank.
After singing and gently swaying to her Grandson Steve Dempsey's piano playing, she suffered a massive stroke. She is now dancing her heart out in Heaven, with her beloved, Johnny.
Catherine leaves behind five children: Joan (Don) Dempsey; Richard Nicholls; George (Christie) Nicholls; Carol (Wayne) Lebrecht; and Cathy (John) Coyle; 17 grandchildren; 35 great grandchildren; and 1 great-great, grandchild.
Catherine was laid to rest on December 22, 2015, after a beautiful Service at the Old North Church in Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills. A Scottish mist loomed as a backdrop while a lone bagpiper's song filled the air as she was placed in her final resting place, next to her beloved husband.