Lois Virginia (Hubbell) Nickel, 99, lifetime Ellensburg resident, passed away on April 3, 2018 at Riverview Manor Assisted Living in Selah. A private family graveside service with military honors will be held at the IOOF Cemetery in Ellensburg.
Lois was born on October 16, 1918 to Beckwith and Edna (Johnson) Hubbell and grew up at 209 E. 8th Street, now University Way, one block west of Barge Hall. She attended Edison School, Morgan-9th grade and graduated from Ellensburg High School in 1935 at the age of 16.
Growing up, she assisted in the family business Ellensburg Capitol, hand folding copies of the weekly newspaper and three days of Rodeo programs. She graduated from the Central Washington College of Education (before it was renamed CWU) in 1938 and went on to teach junior high in Adna, Wash. and fourth grade in Raymond, Wash. for 3 years.
Lois was commissioned as an officer in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (later the Women’s Army Corps) in 1942 and served during WWII. She served in Florida and Texas and her last assignment until the end of the war in 1945 was an Assistant Medical Supply Officer in a 2400-bed Regional Army Hospital near Austin, Texas where German prisoners of the war assisted in the warehouses.
Lois and a co-worker, Capt. Leslie Nickel, were married in Prescott, Arizona in July 1946, shortly after the end of WWII. A fall while hiking landed Lois in the Prescott VA facility for three months. Ironically, it was the same facility in which she worked. Immobilized in bed with crushed neckbones, which were stabilized with sand bags, she spent time reading books projected on the ceiling and listening to the radio – these were, of course, pre-television days.
After her recovery, she and Leslie moved to Ellensburg in 1947 and it was in Ellensburg where their sons – Larry & Lloyd - were born and raised. They lived at 814 E. Sixth for over 65 years and was still living at the family home just prior to her passing. Mr. Nickel passed away unexpectedly in 1960. Lois earned a Master’s in Education at Central Washington State College (not quite yet CWU). She taught kindergarten, first grade and reading in the Ellensburg Public Schools and several summers at CWSC. She traveled several summers in Europe and Asia, often with the International Reading Association.
From 1982, and until his death in 1995, Lois and Robert Owen of Yakima spent many happy years going to dances and traveling the world. Lois was a lifelong member of the Altrusa International, once belonged to a scholarship luncheon group as well as the Kittitas County School Retirees Association.
Lois is survived by her sons, Larry Nickel of Ellensburg and Lloyd (Terry) of Colville; grandchildren Nat, Beck and Jack; her sister Margaret Lerfald of Edmonds; nieces Lauri, Sarah and Jennifer and nephews Eric, Todd and Rand. She was preceded in death by her husband, her dear friend Robert Owen, brother Beck Hubbell, as well as her parents.
Memorial contributions in Lois’s honor are suggested to the Ellensburg Educational Foundation, 1300 East Third or the Kittitas County Museum 114 E. Third Ave, both in Ellensburg. Steward & Williams Funeral Home and Crematory of Ellensburg has been entrusted with caring for Lois’s family. Online condolences may be left at www.steward-williams.com