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Dr. Mary A. Nickles, PhD

January 9, 1939 November 26, 2006
Dr. Mary A. Nickles,  PhD
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Obituary for Dr. Mary A. Nickles, PhD

Dr. Mary A. Nickles, died Sunday, November 26, 2006 at Orange Regional Medical Center, Horton Campus in Middletown.

The daughter of the late George and Stella Choulas, she was born on January 9, 1918 in Peekskill, NY. Married in February, 1939, she was the beloved wife of the late Aristides Peter Nickles for 62 years.

A woman of many interests and talents, Dr. Nickles was a seamstress, avid reader and community activist. She and her husband Art were accomplished in both ballroom dancing and Greek dancing. As a young adult, Dr. Nickles was employed in Clarke’s jewelry shop before becoming an independent real estate broker. In the early 1960s she embarked on her ambition to become a college graduate. She earned her associate’s degree from Orange County Community College and her bachelor’s degree from State University of New York at New Paltz. Dr. Nickles proceeded to secure a master’s degree and evenually her doctoral degree in 1968 from New York University. She was a professor of English and World Literature at SUNY New Paltz for over twenty years.

A year long sabbatical in Greece in 1974 provided Dr. Nickles the opportunity to teach at Deree College in Athens, Greece, and to conduct lectures and poetry readings in Greek for Greek audiences. After retirement from SUNY New Paltz, Dr. Nickles continued teaching and lecturing locally and at the Education Center in Sarasota, Florida until her death.      

Affectionately known as Mary, Dr. Nickles was a community leader all her life. Of particular note were her efforts in the creation of Orange County Community College; participation in the Arts Council of Orange County including “On Stage, Live” and “Encore”; University Women of Middletown; Retired Teachers Association; and as a lifelong pacifist, she supported Middletown Monday evening peace vigils.

Mary is survived by her son, Dr. Peter Aristides Nickles and his wife Barbara of Grosse Pointe Farms, MI, and her daughter, Demetra Kates and her husband Dr. George Kates of Newport, RI. Her four surviving  grandchildren are John Aristides Nickles, Alison Mary Kates, Meredith Demetra Forster,  and Daniel George Kates. Her grandson Michael Robert Nickles predeceased Dr. Nickles. Surviving  great-grandchildren are Jonah, Zachary, Julia, Sophie and Hope. Mary is also survived by her brother James G. Choulas and his wife Helen of Kensington, MD. She is predeceased by her sister Demetra Choulas Pappas and her brother Peter George Choulas who is survived by his wife Ruth. A beloved brother in law, several sisters in law, neices, nephews, Goddaughters, and many friends survive Mary.

A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday January 6, 2007  at Grace Episcopal Church,  58 North Street, Middletown.

Memorial contributions in Dr. Nickles’ name may be made to Grace Episcopal Church, 58 North Street, Middletown, NY 10940 or to Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church, 2250 Goshen Turnpike, Middletown, NY 10941.

Arrangements are under the direction of Applebee-McPhillips Funeral Home, Inc.
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