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Bobbi Jean Nicholson of Penrose passed away February 13, 2023, at Pardee Hospital in Hendersonville. She was born October 3, 1931, in Transylvania County to Freeman Everett Nicholson and Ruth Kilpatrick Nicholson.
After graduating from Brevard High School, she received an AA degree from Mars Hill College. A Bachelor’s Degree in Biochemistry from Furman University followed., and she received a graduate teaching assistantship at Michigan State University where she taught undergraduate Chemistry courses and earned a Master’s degree in Biochemistry.
Ms. Nicholson then accepted a position as a Chemist at the Eastman Kodak Chemical Products in Kingsport, Tennessee. After several years of work there, she returned to Transylvania County to teach Chemistry at Brevard College in 1955. She was awarded a Fellowship from Vanderbilt University in 1959 to study Biochemistry and took a sabbatical from Brevard College for one year. She returned to Brevard College and resumed teaching while intermittently pursuing a PhD degree at Vanderbilt. In 1962, with only one year remaining on that degree, she was forced to withdraw from the PhD program due to health conditions resulting from exposure to chemicals throughout her academic and professional career. Her ongoing academic pursuits continued at Texas A&M University, Iowa State University, and Texas Women’s University.
UNC-Asheville provided Ms. Nicholson with continued opportunities to study Computer Science intensively while teaching there. She became proficient in Computer Science at a time when computer use by postgraduate students was in early stages for colleges and universities.
In 1988, Ms. Nicholson returned to Mars Hill College teaching courses in Computer Science in the Department of Business Administration and remained there until her retirement.
During the summers from 1975-1979, Mrs. Nicholson worked with the U.S. Forest Service in Outdoor Education, and developed a keen interest in aerial photography. She also was a volunteer guide at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI) which in 1962 was first, a tracking facility for NASA and later, a signals intelligence gathering center for the National Security Agent until 1995.
Throughout her professional careers, Bobbie Jean Nicholson was awarded many honors in academics, and at Brevard College rose to the rank of full Professor and Chairperson of the Departments of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. She also provided public talks through various forums and contributed to a series of articles in the Transylvania Times on the Environment, including sanitary landfill, forest clear cutting pollution abatement, and air quality studies. These talks provided academic facts and figures and practical information on how individual citizens can work to improve the environment. But her main achievements were implementations of programs to enhance the academic success of any student. To those students she taught, mentored, tutored and encouraged to rise to their full potential, she will be remembered fondly.
A graveside service will be held 3:00 PM Sunday, February 19 2023 at the Little River Baptist Church Cemetery with Reverend Marc Reynolds officiated.
Memorials may be made to Little River Baptist Church, 51 Little River Church Road, Penrose, NC 28766.
Sunday, February 19, 2023
Starts at 3:00pm (Eastern time)
Little River Church Cemetery
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