Eleanor R. Nickel passed away May 5, 2022, at her home at Kidron Bethel Village in North Newton.
Eleanor Ruth Schmidt was born Jan. 11, 1932, in Meno, Okla., the daughter of August and Esther Schmidt. From her earliest days, Eleanor was a curious child and an avid reader, beginning to read at the age of 3. Her family remembers her as a loving sister and mother, who was deeply proud of each person’s individual accomplishments. Eleanor loved to read, knit, crochet, create original recipes, try new things, listen to classical music, walk, reminisce about family history and travel. She was a strong woman and role model, who did not let the expectations of her generation define her.
Eleanor graduated with her degree in nursing from Bethel College in 1956, and married Bennet K. Nickel a few months later on Aug. 25 at Sister Frieda Chapel in Newton. She received her master’s degree in medical surgical nursing from the University of Iowa in 1973.
Eleanor was a highly respected professional, working in in-service education at St. Francis Hospital and heading an oncology unit at St. Joseph Hospital. She taught nursing at Bethel Deaconess Hospital and Hesston College. She also served on the Board of Bethel Deaconess Hospital and helped direct the merger of Axtell and Bethel Deaconess hospitals into Newton Medical Center.
Eleanor was a founding member of Faith Mennonite and Shalom Mennonite churches. She was a four-time volunteer at 10,000 Villages Warehouse in Akron, Pa. Her faith was enormously important to her as both a source of joy and solace during difficult times.
Survivors include her children and their spouses, Jean and Jim Weber of Newton, Jim and Becky Nickel of Peabody, and Sandra and Andreas Schlaepfer of Chexbres, Switzerland; her brothers, Wilbur and Arlene Schmidt, and James Schmidt; her grandchildren, Jeff and Sara Weber, Julia Weber, Martin Hofkamp and Audrey Thill, Sarah Hofkamp, and Olivia Schlaepfer; her great-grandchildren, Kinzie Weber, Kaden Weber-Gonzalez, Kaylynn Weber and Ben Weber; and her great-great-grandson, Dominic Weber.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Bennet Nickel; her parents, August and Esther Schmidt; her brothers, Richard, Donald and Robert Schmidt; her sisters-in-law, Rachel Enns and Rebecca Nickel Rigby; and brothers-in-law, Abe and Willis Nickel.
A funeral memorial service will be at 10 a.m. Saturday May 7, 2022, at New Creation Fellowship Church in Newton. There will be a private family burial.
In recognition of Eleanor’s love of reading and the Enlite Program that provided her with books each month, please send donations to the Newton Public Library Foundation, Eleanor Nickel Memorial, 720 N. Oak, Newton, Kansas 67114. Handling arrangements is Miller-Ott Funeral Home, 107 S. Lancaster, PO Box 32, Hesston, KS 67062.