Judy Elizabeth Conner Nichols, 72, of Ashland, joined hands with her Lord and Savior on September 23, after a brief battle with cancer. The lifelong educator, activist, wife and mother leaves behind a legacy that reaches throughout Boyd County.
Born to Addie and Emma Boone Conner of Catlettsburg, Judy excelled in all her endeavors, graduating as the valedictorian of Boyd County High School’s Class of 1966. Competitive, sharp and tenacious, she earned her first degree from Marshall University and began a decades-long career as a teacher in the Boyd County School System in 1970. Dr. Nichols would go on to earn her master’s degree, Rank I teacher’s classification, and doctorate in education. Through her class on law and justice, she taught countless students how to be good citizens and the value of civic action. After her retirement from school administration in 2010, Dr. Nichols won a seat on the Boyd County Public Schools Board of Education.
Dr. Nichols’ impact was felt outside the classroom as well. A tireless advocate for the people and children of Boyd County, she served as the president of the Northeast Kentucky’s Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) organization, which trains volunteers to advocate for abused and/or neglected children in court. A member of the Boyd County Environmental Coalition, Dr. Nichols led the fight against the “trash trains” coming in from out of state and sued successfully to have the landfill capped. Her legacy is in the air that all Boyd Countians breathe.
Known for her patriotism and keeping the roads hot with the Southern Ohio Corvette Club, Judy’s biggest passion was for her family. She is survived by her husband and best friend, David Nichols, of Ashland; a daughter, Kimberly Miller of Lexington; a son, Jason Miller (Jennifer) of Berea; step sons James Nichols of Lexington and Michael Nichols (Sharon) of Grayson; a grandson, Joseph Nichols of Berea; a granddaughter, Cerridwyn Miller of Berea; brothers, Arvil Conner (Vickie Fosson) of Catlettsburg and Roger Conner of Ashland; and a sister, Dovie Hudson (Darell) of Cincinnati. She is preceded in death by sisters Jeanetta Church and Della Craig.
A member of the South Ashland United Methodist Church for more than 40 years, Judy’s faith was paramount in her life. Her love of Christ was apparent in the way she raised her children and the way she taught other people’s children. Though she has joined Him in heaven, Judy will be sorely missed on earth.
Services will be held on Monday, September 28, at Steen’s Funeral Home on 13th Street, with a brief public visitation at noon, followed by a funeral at 1:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, please send donations in her name to the good works of South Ashland United Methodist Church or to CASA of Northeast Kentucky.
To share a remembrance of Judy or to express a condolence to her family, please visit: www.steenfuneralhome.com.
Click here to view a webcast of the service on 9/28/2020 at 12:55 PM, Eastern Standard Time.
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