Margaret Ann Nichols

Without a doubt, our mother Margaret Ann Nichols would have edited this obituary. A word lover and proud grammarian, she gleefully corrected the neighborhood newsletter, the Wichita Eagle, and catalog product blurbs. Margaret/Mom/Grandma/Greatma laid down her red pencil on her ninetieth birthday, February 14, 2024.

Margaret was smart and sassy and Midwestern to the bone. She was a woman who brooked no nonsense while working two jobs to raise us, her four kids, on her own. If we have any Scrabble or crossword skills, musical chops, graceful ping-pong moves, esoteric knowledge, or frugal spending habits, we owe them to her. Cooking skills not so much, but we were happy to skip fancy homemade dinners in favor of rollicking family games of Michigan Rummy (Nichols rules of course!).

Margaret was born in Wichita, Kansas on February 14, 1934 to Edith May (Detrick) Mood and Eugene Funk Mood. She majored in music and minored in English at the Oklahoma College for Women in Enid, Oklahoma, where she was also a synchronized swimmer (we still have her hand-sewn sequined suit). After college, she spent a summer playing the cello and bass viol with the Kids From Home for US troops in Germany and Morocco. She surrounded us—her own personal quartet—with music all our lives.

While Margaret enjoyed her career in television traffic and her part-time gift-shop gigs, she discovered her true calling later in life as a volunteer educator at the Sedgwick County Zoo where she served as a docent for over twenty years. Countless zoo visitors—especially children—will undoubtedly remember learning about elephant hides and rhino horns or hearing the story of the wide-mouthed frog from an enthusiastic four-foot-nine-inch white-haired grandma. And no one will forget the tote bags she repurposed from animal feed sacks or the gorilla-sized pajamas she sewed for kids to try on so they’d know just how big our hairy friends are.

Some of Margaret’s happiest hours were spent in the sewing room she set up wherever she lived. She sewed many of our clothes (those lime green swimsuits!), costumes, stuffed animals, baby busy books, elephant-treat holders and black-footed ferret-protection trap covers. She sewed her first skirt at nine years old and her last animal pillow at age 89.

Margaret was predeceased by her parents and her brother Samuel Mood. She is survived by her brother Lester Mood (Pat Mood); her four children Angela Anne Nichols (Bryan Warman), Shawn Lewis Nichols (Ursula Nichols), Paige Allison Nichols (Eric Struckhoff), and Laurel Leigh Nichols; her seven granddaughters Amy Nichols, Jesse Nichols, Hannah Hueston, Emma Warman, Abby Warman, Claire Warman, and Dename Warman; her great-grandson Adric Nichols; her niece Elissa (Mood) Douglas (Stuart Douglas) and her nephew Travis Mood (Kim Morse); and a zoo’s worth of animals.

Plans are pending for a gathering in Wichita this spring to celebrate Margaret’s life. Memorial donations may be made to Sedgwick County Zoo, KMUW, or Heifer International.

Messages & Condolences

From Susan Douglas...

Your mom became my wise advocate, a friend and mentor, an inspiration and how she loved her family. She was very proud of you all!

From Phyllis Padgett...

Margaret, I Will Always remember you and the good times we had together. You were multi-talented and a great friend. I miss you and wish your family my deepest sympathy.
My f

From Harry Simpson...

Godspeed Margaret, a long and loving life well lived, and a kind, caring and loving soul that will be dearly missed, and lovingly remembered. Including the “Red Pencil” no doubt.
My deepest sympathies to Margaret’s family, friends and loved ones.

From Sheryl G...

What a beautiful life! Her legacy lives on in her amazing family. Sending love.

From Lauren S...

love to the Nichols Warman family, and her memory will live forever

Please Share Your Message & Condolences

*All fields are required. Your email address will not be published.