Thursday, January 5, 2012

George Delbert Nichols Obituary

From the Saturday, February 9, 1929 edition of the Cairo Evening Citizen and Bulletin:

'Bert' Nichols, Veteran Police Officer, Passes
Served City For 37 Years Faithfully As Patrolman
No more picturesque character ever walked a police beat in Cairo than "Bert" Nichols during his service over a third of a century. He was recognized by his superior officers and his compatriots as a man and officer of absolute honesty and a "square shooter" in every sense of the word. Through changing administrations and upheaval in the police department, "Bert" continued to walk his beat unscathed.
"Bert's" theory was that a good policeman was not always the one who made the most arrests. He believed it was an officer's duty to give friendly advice to bring about the peaceful settlement of neighborhood quarrels and avoid arrests if possible in these lesser disturbances, although he showed no such leniency to the real criminal.
Absolutely Fearless
Fearless almost to the degree of foolhardiness, "Bert" was ever an enigma and a source of wonderment to his brother officers. He was careless to a fault in what is considered the most important factor contributing to an officer's personal safety, that of being properly armed. Cairo chiefs of the police department down through the decades wore themselves down trying to make Patrolman Nichols carry a gun regularly, but always without success.
This officer would go out after a dangerous criminal with only his club and at times would be without this lowly weapon. Many tales as to his prowess with the "billy" were told by his brother officers, many of whom have long been dead. In his younger days when he was strong physically and a perfect example of health and vigor, he was credited with the ability to throw his club with as much accuracy as some officers could shoot.
Great Physical Vigor
His physical endurance was a puzzle to other officers. During the coldest weather he would not wear an overcoat or gloves, and hated to don these encumbering accoutrements even after a long period of illness three years ago, from which he had never been expected to recover. He was a close friend of Uncle Abe Houglas, who had also served most of his life on the Cairo police force before he resigned as desk clerk at the beginning of the present city administration.
Patrolman Nichols was widely read and could talk with an uncanny understanding on all current subjects, and was hard to beat in an argument. His favorite subject was Socialism, which he strongly defended in countless discussions with brother officers and citizens.
Funeral Today
Funeral services for this veteran police officer, who died Friday afternoon at 2 o'clock at his home, 2310 Washington avenue, were held this afternoon at 4:15 o'clock at the residence, the Rev. W. C. Hart, pastor of the Cairo Baptist church, officiating.
The body will be taken to Millers, O., former home of Mr. Nichols, leaving here at 5:30 o'clock this evening, and interment probably will be made there Monday.
Members of the police force served as active pallbearers at the funeral, and the services were largely attended.

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