Gerald “Jerry” Roger Nichols, Jr., 68, of Missoula passed away March 1, 2021 in a tragic motorcycle accident.
Jerry was born on March 14, 1952 in Missoula, MT to Gerald Nichols, Sr. and Wilma Jean “Billie” Nichols. The oldest of five children, he grew up in East Missoula with siblings Jim, Jolene, Jeannie and Jay. After several years, he moved to Alberton and also spent some time living in the logging camps up Fish Creek with his dad and brother, Jim. There, he discovered his undying love for the outdoors. He graduated from Alberton High School in 1970 and maintained friendships with numerous classmates.
After moving to Missoula, Jerry went on to work as a switchman for Milwaukee Railroad and spent nearly 30 years at Stone Container working various positions. There, he formed friendships he cherished. He also owned and operated Western Waters & Woods, serving as a whitewater rafting, fishing and hunting outfitter. In 1979 he married Audrey Rider and together they had two children, Brandi and Cale. His greatest pride was instilling his love of fishing and hunting in his children who, to this day, spend their most cherished moments in the outdoors.
In 2002, Jerry married Patricia Blandford and they moved to Superior, MT, living across the old highway from “his river”, the Clark Fork. Together, they cruised a total of 25 times with visits to Alaska, Hawaii and Europe. Once Stone Container closed, he worked as a truck driver for Tricon Timber. Jerry and Patricia later divorced in 2020, after which he moved back to Missoula.
After fully retiring in 2019, Jerry did what he loved most and spent as much time in the outdoors as possible. His lifelong passions were fishing and hunting, and he couldn't get enough of either. He was a pro, and rarely gave up his secrets unless he was teaching grandchildren Dane or Avery the ropes.
Jerry lived life to the fullest, finishing his journey dancing, laughing and enjoying life. He is deeply missed and is forever in our hearts.
Jerry was preceded in death by both his parents. Survivors include daughter Brandi (Jason) Gagner of Missoula, and son Cale (Amy) Nichols of Ramsay, MT, brothers Jim (Teresa) and Jay (Maureen) Nichols all of Missoula, MT, and sisters Jolene (Art) Conat and Jeannie Jeffery all of Deer Lodge, MT. He also leaves behind grandchildren Jayden, Avery, Noah, Dane and Paige who will dearly miss his fishing and hunting lessons as well as numerous friends, cousins, nieces and nephews.
A small service will be held on Friday March 12 at 11am followed by a celebration of life at Sunset Memorial.