The Rev. Albert Earl Nichols

The Rev. Albert Earl Nichols, born in Orange, Calif., died of brain cancer at age 80 on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2010, in Oconomowoc.

Al was a pastor, counselor and steadfast friend to countless people. He was a tireless advocate for human rights and a resonant voice for social justice, believing strongly that the church must be a prophetic social force. As a pastor and counselor, he worked without attention to status or personal gain to foster generosity and forgiveness in others. As a father and friend, Al was an unfailing life force, bringing optimism and reason to even the most difficult situations. Alís life was characterized equally by his rare capacity to approach each individual without judgment, regardless of circumstances, personal choices or station in life.

As chair of the Ministerial Relations Committee in the Milwaukee Presbytery, he fostered critical communication between congregations and their pastors. Also at the presbytery, he spearheaded the overture to ordain gays and lesbians. As a board member at The Womenís Center in Waukesha, he served on the capital campaign committee and helped raise $3.2 million to build a new facility that, among other things, provided services to victims of domestic violence. Alís voice as a grassroots leader called upon the community to be inclusive of all people, regardless of race, gender and sexual orientation. This was exemplified through his work with S.O.S., a food pantry in Sussex, local cooperating churches and the Hamilton School District. Al served on the board of directors at Planned Parenthood, NARAL, the Family Service Center, the Voluntary Action Center and the Pewaukee Ministerial Association. He was active in the Wisconsin Council of Churches and many other community-driven projects.

He held degrees from Occidental College, Union Theological Seminary and the University of Chicago. He served on the ecumenical staff of the Christian Association at the University of Pennsylvania. He was pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Beloit, at the Kettle Moraine Parish and at Lisbon Presbyterian Church in Sussex.

He is survived by his brother, Robert Quinn; sons, Jeffrey Quinn, Braden Alexander and Robert Scott; five grandchildren; his former wife, Marjorie; and many other relatives and friends.

There will be a memorial service at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 15, at Redeemer United Church of Christ, W220-N4915 Town Line Road, Menomonee Falls, WI 53051 (phone: 246-6710).

Contributions may be made in his memory to a charity of the donorís choice.
Peace of Mind Funeral & Cremation Services, 414-453-1562, is serving the family.