George Raymond Nicol (aka: Punk, Nick, Monty, Ray) was born on October 4, 1924 to George Raymond, Sr., and Minnie Anna (Struple) Nicol in Glasgow, Montana. While spending his last two years with assistance from Valley View staff, George quietly and peacefully fell asleep in his bed the evening of February 23, 2017. His folks came to Montana in 1909 and built a log house which is now under the Ft. Peck Dam waters. Their home then was what later became the southernmost edge of Ft. Peck Dam (then Dawson County). They lived one year at Lou Johnson’s place. Ray would share his love for horses by giving kids a ride on his pony for 10 cents. In 1933, they moved by the Milk River where they farmed. Somewhere during 1935-36, after his dad purchased the Rio Theater, Maxine and her sister, Lorene, worked there as ushers. It was then that Ray met Maxine and told everyone “Someday I will marry that little gal”.
During WWII, Ray and his family raised sugar beets so the government allowed them to use prisoners of war to thin and hoe beets; later, they hired Mexicans, so Ray learned how to speak Spanish.
Ray and Maxine married on December 15, 1945. They purchased a dairy which they called Nicol Dairy and lived there only a year, due to a harsh winter. From there, they moved to Nashua and raised their three children (Janice, Bill and Kathy). In 1958, they bought a farm from Jeff Wagner 3 miles south of Nashua. During the years on the farm (1958 to 2014), Connie and Bonnie joined the family. In October, 2014, they moved into Prairie Ridge Village in Glasgow. Due to medical needs, it became necessary to auction off the farm.
Ray graduated in 1942 from Nashua High School (as did Maxine, their 5 children, and 2 grandchildren). After graduating, Ray moved to California welding on the Moore Dock. During that same year, he spent time working at the Navy Shipyards in Bremerton, WA. Ray also welded for an oil rig North of Nashua. He taught welding at the Glasgow Air Force Base and worked for Pittsburg Demoin Steel, welding on steel water towers. Ray worked for G.E. Marshel doing road construction (welding) south of Ft. Peck. He took welding jobs wherever possible and worked for Chicago Bridge and Corp of Engineers at Ft. Peck and was hired for Pre-Grandola testing new technology welding south of Ft. Peck near the Pines. He was employed with Montana Dakota Utilities for a few years.
Ray’s love for horses landed him in the medical facilities more than once. When he was about 13, he was trampled by a horse which left his face severely smashed. Upon seeing a doctor in Wolf Point, his mom was shown how to massage his face to help shape the bones. A few years later, Ray’s horse ran into a barb-wired fence throwing Ray into the fence nearly severing the artery underneath his armpit, requiring many stitches. In 1978, another horse accident took place where Ray was air-lifted to Billings. Due to his pelvis being split apart 5″, he remained in the hospital 6 weeks. On July 24, 1992, Ray had open heart surgery for a quintuple by-pass. On July 10, 2000, Ray suffered an aneurism which took some time to recover from.
Along with the love of providing for his family by farming, he also enjoyed hunting, riding horses helping with ranch round-ups, playing his guitar and singing with many long-time and new-found friends when he and Maxine spent winter months in Arizona with several others while taking part in various jam sessions. George and Maxine loved to dance and they floated around the dance floor as though they were dancing on clouds. They were honored to represent the Nashua All-School Reunion of 2006 by being selected as Grand Marshall.
Ray is survived by his beautiful wife Maxine; children, daughter Janice (Dennis) Shanks, son William (Kareen) Nicol, daughters Kathleen Steele (friend Greg Ganje), Connie (Steve) Culliton and Bonnie Nicol; grandchildren Janelle (Troy) Bargmann, Jayme (Emit) Valnes, Shelly Nicol, Shane (Alyssa) Nicol, Scott (Evaana) Steele and Joy Partridge; great grandchildren Hannah and Kayla Nicol, Scottie Passmore, Justice Steele (Candace and children Hazen and Emerson) and Aasya Steele, Alexys “Lexy” and Pacyn Partridge, Garrett and Stetson Bargmann.
Ray is preceded in death by his father George Raymond Nicol, Sr., his mother Minnie Anna (Struple) Nicol, his sister Marjorie H. Shea and his half-brothers William and Clifton H. Carr.
Services for George will be held at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Nashua at 11:00 on Tuesday, February 28, 2017 with Pastor Bonnie Novak officiating. George will be put to rest in the Nashua Cemetery.
Bell Mortuary of Glasgow is assisting the family with arrangements.