John Woster Nichols


John Woster Nichols was born at St. Mary’s Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri in 1941.  On February 4, 2011, at the age of 69 and after 16 months of brain cancer, angels escorted John to his heavenly home.  Preceded in death by his parents, George and Josephine Woster, and his brother, David Woster, John is survived by his sisters, Joanne Norris of St. Paul, Minnesota, and Dorothy Brandwein of Fairway, Kansas, and his brother, Bill Woster of Dallas, Texas.

John held a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Kansas, followed by two years of medical school at KU Medical Center.  He lived all his adult life in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, working at Burd & Fletcher Company for the past 38 years.  A member of the Teamster’s Union, John was the epitome of a loyal, diligent employee who took tremendous pride in his work.  His primary duty was driving a fork lift to unload and move 20-foot tall rolls of heavy print stock for use in the commercial printing of food packaging (microwave popcorn, ice cream cartons, frozen dinners, etc.).  John was held in the highest esteem by his supervisors and his fellow workers.  They were like family to him and he loved them.

John was a loving son, brother, uncle and great-uncle, and a wonderful friend to all.  He was in close touch with family members in Kansas City and made frequent visits to out-of town family in Minnesota, Dallas, Oklahoma and Nebraska.  He greatly enjoyed being an important part of the lives of his 6 nieces, 3 nephews, and 12 great nieces and great nephews.  His beloved nieces and nephews and their children are grateful for his loving care and encouragement.  They adored John and vice versa.  He was delighted to be with them and care for them over the years.  He was so patient and dear with the little ones, reading to them and playing games with them for hours on end.

John’s lifelong avocation was poetry.  In 1995 he published a collection of his poems entitled Snowflake, and he continued to write until his illness.  His poetry inspired and touched many hearts, adding beauty to and enriching the lives of all his family and friends.

John was a voracious reader.  He sang tenor for a number of years with the Village Presbyterian Church.  He appreciated classical music and enthusiastically applauded numerous family members’ musical performances.  He passionately enjoyed and was an absolute ace at playing both duplicate and party bridge.  Spirited bridge games were a staple during family visits and holidays, and his partners and opponents eagerly looked forward to them.  John attended many public dances over the years, particularly enjoying dancing to the Krazy Kats Oldies Band.  He greatly appreciated natural beauty, so many of his vacations were spent in this country’s magnificent national parks and forests.

John spent his last seven months at The Sweet Life at Rosehill in Shawnee, Kansas.  The Sweet Life’s dedicated staff cared for him lovingly, and we are so grateful for their kindness and friendship to him and everyone who visited him.  Many thanks also to the staff at Kansas City Hospice and Palliative Care who were so attentive and helpful.

The family will greet friends beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 19 at Holy Angels Catholic Church in Basehor, KS.  A Memorial Mass celebrated by Father Al Rockers will be at 11:00 a.m., and a luncheon will be served in the parish hall afterward.  Donations to Kansas City Hospice (816-363-2600) are welcome.

John was generous with his time and affection for all.  He was always available.  We will miss his terrific sense of humor, his twinkling eyes, and his sweet smile with those gorgeous dimples.  John, you have made the ultimate grand slam for all eternity.  We miss you and look forward to being with you when it’s our turn.

Learning To Sing

To trust in the Lord and expect His salvation.
To soar like a bird on the wings of His love.
To sing with the angels in sweet adoration
Refrains of His glory in heaven above,
Refrains of His glory and heavenly love.

To master life’s storms in the arms of my Savior.
To walk on the waves as He shows me the way.
To hold fast in my vision His north star forever,
And chart a true course through the rocks of today,
And chart a true course through the rocks of today.

I call on God’s mercy.  I know He forgives me.
He holds me and loves me and looks in my eyes.
And the light of His love fills my heart and revives me.
I know I am destined for His paradise,
I know I am destined for His paradise.

Now I trust in my Lord and accept His salvation.
I soar like a bird on the wings of His love.
I sing with the angels in sweet adoration
Refrains of His glory in heaven above,
Refrains of His glory and heavenly love.

C.  John Nichols (Unpublished Work)  9-17-1995

A Loving Welcome (to Mary Jo)

A home left behind will still pull for a time
while your head settles in to the new.
And a lover, once gone, will be missed not too long
if your heart to your own self is true.

Now the same may be said of those joining the dead,
and the world they are leaving behind.
And the change they may dread is not nearly so bad
as their incomplete view of mankind.

For it’s where we are going that matters the most,
and not what we are leaving behind.
And some reckon a loss the whole heavenly host
of the souls they have put out of mind.

When we entered this life, we took love for a wife.
And so many have served in her name.
Now they’ve gone, like the flowers, to what someday is ours.
And have learned what we’ve yet to attain.

So they wait and they’ll welcome us home to the fold,
when the shackles of life set us free.
As a newborn learns love in the arms of its mum,
they will guide us to our destiny.

 C.  John Nichols (Unpublished Work)  1-28-2005

 The Dream of a Lonely Star

Like a comet of ice in the blackness of space,
I have sped on my course past the stars in their place.
And they warm not my heart, for they shine from afar.
And their light only beckons to show where they are.
In the vastness of space, in the blinking of time,
In this cold, dark, and empty place…wherever I am.

Nothing pulls me or bends me.  No gravity here.
For my course has been set, and my purpose is clear:
To give light and amusement to mortal lives based
On a star-world that’s stable and spinning in place.
But my heart’s only human.  And human, it dreams:
That there’s more to my lonely life than what it seems.

Yes, I fancy that someday I’ll venture too near
To a star I thought lonely like me.  But it’s clear,
As I narrow the distance, that this star’s a twin!
And its light is what lights up the face I look in.
And the stars in your eyes make my lonely heart melt.
In the light that they shine, it’s your love I have felt.

C.  John Nichols (Unpublished Work)  1-12-1996


  1. John R Van Dam on February 15, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    I remember John from Rockhurst H. S.
    He was a nice fellow and reading his poetry brought tears. God Bless him and allow him to a special place in heaven.

  2. Randall R. Freisinger on February 15, 2011 at 8:37 am

    I am very sorry to learn of John’s passing. he was a classmate of mine at Rockhurst High School, and in that sense we were family. I mourn his loss and celebrate his gain.

    Randy Freisinger

  3. Michelle Patterson on February 13, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    I love you Uncle John.

  4. James S. Schilling on February 13, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    Dear Joanne, Dorothy and Bill,

    I’m very sorry to learn of John’s recent death. We were good friends. I was hoping he would come to the 50th reunion at Rockhurst in October 2009; perhaps his illness prevented this. I have great memories of you and your parents from the 1950’s. On my way back from Denver a few years ago I visited your mother in your old house across from St. Agnes. She was very happy to see me and told me a little about what you all were doing. She was a wonderful lady.

    You are in my thoughts,

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