Thomas Andrew “Tom” Nickell

Thomas Andrew “Tom” Nickell

Saint Louis, St. Louis County, Missouri, USA
Death 23 Sep 2009 (aged 88)
Springfield, Sangamon County, Illinois, USA
Burial Springfield, Sangamon County, Illinois, USA
Plot Block 44
Memorial ID 61036178 · View Source
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Thomas Andrew "Tom" Nickell was born 18 July 1921 in St. Louis, MO. Tom was the third child of Dr. Lloyd Francis Nickell and Evalena Bowen Nickell. Tom's family lived in St. Louis until Tom was eight years old.

In 1929, Tom's Dad, Lloyd, accepted a position in London, England, and the family moved from St. Louis to the Village of Purley, Surrey, England, south of London. Tom attended English boys schools including Downside School for Boys in Purley, then in 1935 began at Dean Close School in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England. In 1938, Tom studied at Ecole Lemania in Lausanne, Switzerland where his entire curriculum was taught in French.

As a child and teenager in England, Tom toured Great Britain and Europe with family. He visited many historic sites later destroyed in WWII. Tom had first-hand experience with Nazi brutality when on a trip with his Dad. At the Austrian-German border crossing, their bus of British tourists was detained, then abused by Nazi SS Soldiers. The Nazi SS distrusted that Tom spoke with an English accent (learned at English Boys Schools), yet traveled on an American Passport. The British tourists on the bus rushed to the aid of Tom and his Dad, and the frightening incident eventually resolved without issue.

In the late 1930's, with hostilities growing in Europe, Tom's Dad returned his two sons to the comparative safety of the United States. Tom attended Andover Exeter Academy in Andover, MA. Tom later completed high school in Champaign, IL while living with his uncle and aunt, Vernon and Leta Nickell. Tom remained very close to his Uncle Vernon for the remainder of Vernon's life. In the fall of 1941, Tom entered the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Tom completed his freshman year at the University of Illinois. On August 28, 1942, Tom enlisted in the U.S. Army, Field Artillery, during WWII. Tom served overseas in the Pacific Theatre from December 1942 through February 1946. He served with the 182nd Infantry Cannon Company of the Americal Division. With the 182nd Infantry "jungle fighters," Tom served in pivotal battles on the North Solomons (Guadalcanal and Bouganville) and the South Philippines (Cebu and Leyte). He would later serve in the Japan Occupational Forces southwest of Tokyo, Japan.

During Tom's WWII service, he was twice awarded the Bronze Star Medal, as well as Good Conduct Medals, Combat Infantry Badge, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign, World War II Victory and Japan Occupation Medals.

After WWII, Tom returned to the University of Illinois where he graduated in 1948 with a degree in political science and French. He had planned to join the U.S. Foreign Service, but love had other plans. Tom was married at the First Presbyterian Church in Danville, IL on 6 August 1950. He was employed by the State of Illinois as director of personnel (human resources) for nearly forty years.

In October 1950, Tom's reserve unit was called up during the Korean Conflict. In Korea, Tom also served in combat with Headquarters, IX Army Artillery, where he was overseas until September 1951. Tom was honorably discharged with the rank of Staff Sergeant.

Tom's faith was very important to him. He was a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church for thirty years, where he served on Session. For the last twenty-eight years, Tom belonged to Christ Episcopal Church where he served on Vestry.

Tom was a member of Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity, a Life Member of the Old Decanian Society at Dean Close School, Central Lodge 71 AF&AM, Springfield Consistory of Scottish Rite, York Rite, a Life Member of the U of I Alumni Association, the American Public Administrators Association and was a twenty-year Red Coat volunteer at Memorial Medical Center.

He was preceded in death by his parents; two sisters; and a brother.

He is survived by his wife of nearly sixty years; a son; two grandsons; a sister; five nieces; two nephews; and several great-nieces and nephews and great-great-nieces and nephews, and cousins.

Funeral ceremonies were held at Christ Episcopal Church in Springfield. Burial was at Oak Ridge Cemetery with military honors provided by the U.S. Army.

Family Members


  • Maintained by: NickTrack
  • Originally Created by: BjJ
  • Added: 2 Nov 2010
  • Find a Grave Memorial 61036178
  • NickTrack
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Thomas Andrew “Tom” Nickell (18 Jul 1921–23 Sep 2009), Find a Grave Memorial no. 61036178, citing Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, Sangamon County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by NickTrack (contributor 47678163) .