Francis L. Nicholls, 78, of rural Warren, MN, passed away early Friday morning, May 31, 2019 at Altru Hospital in Grand Forks, ND.
Francis Leo was born on July 30, 1940, the older twin brother to Fred, sons of Havlock and Anna (Diedrich). Francie grew up on the family farm north of Warren, which he and Fred began to operate as teenagers after their father suffered a heart attack. He was always a determined man, graduated from high school, and enjoyed working the land.
On February 11, 1960, Francis was united in the sacrament of marriage to Sharon Lien, in St. Augustine Catholic Church, in Austin, MN. A week after their marriage, they moved to Francis' mother's family farm, and lived there the rest of their married life. They raised four children and Francis provided for the family by farming in the summer and working several jobs over the winter, including shifts at the Warren beet piler with his brother, and as a school bus driver for over 20 years.
Francis was very active in his community and was a charter member of both the Warren Volunteer Ambulance Corps and the Sons of the American Legion. He was on the Red River Valley Sugar Beet Association board for nine years, and was a longtime member of the Knights of Columbus. He took great pride in his church, for which he did the custodial work in addition to maintaining its cemetery. When he was young, Francie was an excellent snowmobile rider in the sport's early days and won many awards in cross-country races. As a member of the Warren Sno-Cat Riders, Francis won his final and most cherished award last year: the Peoples' Choice trophy for his 1976 Polaris. It was the only sno-cat he ever bought new and he was determined to ride it to Alvarado next winter. Francis was considering taking a break from his duties at the Marshall County Fair this year, though, after several decades of being the north entrance “gatekeeper.”
In addition to his wife of 59 years, Sharon, Francis is survived by his children, Ruth Ann Schleif (Ken Mabry Jr.), Mary Kay (LaVerne) Voll, Robert (Jane) Nicholls, and Terry (Sherie) Nicholls; 10 grandchildren, Casey Schleif, Jessica and Nathan Voll; Samantha and Kristen Nicholls; Thomas Stickel, Candice (Jeremy) Palm, Jared and Jacob Pulley, and Anna Pulley-Nicholls; siblings, Carol (Nolan) Buck, Cherry (Jerry) Gumz, Fred Nicholls, and Janie (Tom) Moffitt; and 10 great-grandchildren.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Havlock and Annie; a baby brother; son-in-law, Greg Schleif; and sister-in-law, Julia Nicholls.
In Lieu of Flowers, memorials are preferred in Francis' memory to:
+Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church - St. Joseph Statue Restoration Fund+
(you may put "St. Joseph" on the Memo Line)
MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL: 10:30 AM on Thursday, June 6, 2019 at Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church in Warren, MN.
VISITATION: 5:00 – 7:00 PM with a 5:00 PM Rosary on Wednesday, June 5, 2019 at Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church in Warren; and one hour before Mass.
INTERMENT: Calvary Catholic Cemetery, Warren, MN.