Published: July 27, 2021

Shirley Nichols, age 86, formerly of Florence, passed away Saturday, July 24th, 2021.  Shirley grew up in Lexington Alabama and was a graduate of Lexington High School, Class of 53, and of Florence State Teachers College in 1956, with a degree in Library Science.   She received a Master of Library Science from Peabody College, Vanderbilt University in 1981.  Shirley managed TVA’s Research Library in Muscle Shoals Alabama.    Shirley was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Florence Alabama for over 60 years and was a founding member of the Ferguson Sunday School class there.  She also served as church librarian for several years after her retirement from TVA.    She was preceded in death by her parents; James Felix Griffin and Girchen Mitchell Griffin, her brother, Donald Griffin, her sister, Kaye Berry, her son-in-law, Jim Leist, and her loving husband, Henry Nichols.   She and Henry were married for 64 happy years and had three daughters, Cherie Leist Woodard (Eddie) of Madison Mississippi, Leigh Nichols Oncale (Shane) of Birmingham AL, and Laura Buchanan McElroy (Robert) of Birmingham AL.  
Shirley was a fan of the arts and literature.  She could often be found enjoying performances all over Northwest Alabama, particularly where her husband was participating.  Shirley loved donating her time and talents to serve others in community service.  She was also an avid seamstress and baker.   Shirley adored her grandchildren, and their fondest memories are of standing in chairs baking cookies with their grandma in the kitchen with a view of Wilson Lake.  Happy hours were spent by the whole family on the water, and during family beach trips that Shirley insisted on every year.  Her daughter’s memories are full of her undying support during every aspect of their lives. She was ever the loving mother and would do anything for her children and grandchildren. No request was too big.  
Shirley is survived by her three daughters and grandchildren Kayla Leist Labrato (Chase), Joseph Leist, Sloan Kirby Kren (Hayden), Juliana Kirby, Sydney Oncale, Virginia Buchanan, Hillary Buchanan, Lindsey Kate McElroy, Reed McElroy, and Sims McElroy. Great-grandchildren, Claire and Reagan Labrato, and Wesley Kren.
Memorial donations can be made to the library at First United Methodist Church of Florence or the American Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, or the Michael J Fox Parkinson’s Foundation.
Arrangements will be provided by Elkins Funeral Home.  A memorial service for both Shirley and Henry is planned for August 21 at First United Methodist Church followed by a family graveside at Pettus Cemetery in Lexington, Alabama.  
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