Willie J. Nichols, 72, of Buffalo, a retired public safety officer and owner of a hair-styling shop, died Wednesday in Roswell Park Cancer Institute after a short illness.
Born and raised in North Augusta, S.C., Mr. Nichols served as an infantry sergeant in the Army during the Korean War and was awarded a Purple Heart. He graduated from Burgard Vocational High School after he moved to Buffalo in 1955.
He operated the barbershop in what was then Veterans Hospital before opening his own hair salon in 1961. Mr. Nichols closed that business in 1970, when he took a job as a public safety officer at the University of Buffalo.
After his retirement from that job in 1991, he opened another hair salon, Nichols Hairstyles, on East Delavan Avenue, where he worked up until shortly before his death.
A founder of the Humboldt and Delevan Community Interest League, Mr. Nichols was a member of BUILD and the Hamlin Park Taxpayers Association. He liked to hunt and fish.
Survivors include his wife of more than 45 years, the former Maggie Carter of Greensboro, N.C.; two daughters, Katie Nichols Harrod of Buffalo and Dr. Arlene Nichols Miller of Whisett, S.C.; four sons, Alfred S., Thomas J., Brandon Hall and Troy Hall, all of Buffalo; three sisters, Louise Baskett, Fannie Julia Blanchard and Estella Benjamin, all of North Augusta, S.C.; a brother, Tommie of North Augusta, S.C.; and four grandchildren.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday in New Hope Baptist Church, 543 Richmond Ave. Burial will be in Forest Lawn.