In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Lee Holloway Nichols, Sr., 1934-2023

Lee Holloway Nichols, Sr., 1934-2023
IMB Photo

Lee Holloway Nichols, Sr., an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel in South Korea, died April 14, 2023, in Walterboro, South Carolina. He was 88.

Lee was born Dec. 21, 1934, in Selma, Alabama, to Walter Pitts Nichols, Sr. and Annie Lee Holloway Nichols. He graduated from Perry County High School in Marion, Alabama, and received the Bachelor of Science from Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, and the Bachelor of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.

After graduating from Auburn, he went immediately into the Navy as an ensign and spent the next three years in the Navy, mostly onboard the USS Hooper, a destroyer escort vessel that had just been commissioned. Despite the call of the Navy to stay and make a career, he had felt a higher call from the Lord to minister to the spiritual needs of international people. After leaving the Navy, he moved on to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary where he studied for the next three years. There he met Norma Jean Hiers. They married in 1964.

After graduation, he accepted the call of a new church in northeastern Ohio to help them establish their church, Faith Baptist Church, in Newbury, Ohio. He and his new wife lived in Ohio for the next three and a half years. Eventually, the couple felt called to international missions.

In 1966, the Foreign Mission Board (now the International Mission Board) appointed Lee and Norma Jean missionaries to South Korea. After successfully completing the two-year language training needed to begin his work in South Korea, the family was assigned to work in the North and South Chŏlla provinces in South Korea in church planting and development. This work continued very fruitfully for the next 29 years. During this time, Lee also helped to develop a church loan fund that proved to be very successful and to teach young future pastors at the seminary how to use Greek in sermon preparation. He published a book in Korean on these Greek study principles that are still being used in Korean seminaries today.

After 31 years in South Korea, the Nicholses were requested to work among Korean speakers in other countries, and they had to leave their second homeland to move on to spend another 10 years in other places before they retired and returned to Walterboro. In retirement, he was a member of First Baptist Church, Walterboro.

Lee is survived by Norma, his wife of 59 years; two sons, Lee H. Nichols, Jr. (Maria) and Ted Nichols (Donie), and one daughter, Lynn Murphy (Robin); and eight granddaughters.

A funeral service was held April 22, 2023, at the First Baptist Church of Walterboro.

Read an obituary here.