Ballarat is mourning the loss of one of its widest reaching community stalwarts after the death of Bryan Nicholls, following a long illness.
A long-serving minister and tireless volunteer, Mr Nicholls’ death will be felt throughout Ballarat after his significant contribution to the city.
Born in 1940 to Herbert and Ethel, Mr Nicholls spent his early years in Melbourne, before entering the Army Apprentices School, learning the skills to be a vehicle mechanic at age 15.
He served as a member of the Australian Army for 12 years before taking his discharge in 1967. Following this he used his vast vehicle mechanical knowledge working for International Harvester Company, Crown Controls and Nissan.
After over 20 years of working with his hands, he moved towards working with his heart with the Uniting Church. Following many more years within the church and studying theology, Mr Nicholls was appointed to the Ballarat South Parish in 1995.
As he began to wind-up full-time work within the ministry, Bryan joined Ballarat Legacy, where his tremendous work working with widows and those suffering from war losses was vital.
“He’s is a really sad loss,” John Dellaca from Ballarat Legacy said.
“He was just so immaculate in the way he worked. His ability to connect and help those within legacy was truly special.”
After full-time work within the ministry stopped in 2005, Bryan was elected as president of Ballarat Legacy, but not before he would marry his second wife Sue in 2007.
“He was the most wonderful, caring husband anyone would have ever asked for,” Sue said.
“He was the best father, step-father, grandfather and mentor I’ve ever seen, it was just his love to go above and beyond for anyone that needed it.”
In 2009 he was appointed as a Justice of the Peace, playing an oft forgotten and important role at the Ballarat Police Station.
Speaking to The Courier in late 2018, Mr Nicholls said he was always happy to simply help others.
“I think having people who come in with issues they are unsure about and pointing them in the right direction was always a great feeling,” he said.
Ballarat Superintendent Jenny Wilson applauded Mr Nicholls upon his retirement in 2018.
“He has provided strong leadership and friendship to his colleagues,” she said.
A public memorial service will be held at 1.30pm at the Neil Street Uniting Church on Monday, February 18.
TRIBUTES TO BRYAN NICHOLLS
- A great support to all Veterans, will be sadly missed – Michael Porter
- Truly grateful for his service to our community! – Mr. Clarke
- A true gentleman, a man of God. A good and faithful servant. – Jones
- He was a friend of St Cuthberts U. C. Church – Trish Campbell
- RIP A dear kind and loving man, now at rest in the arms of the Father – Kathryn Armstrong (Nee Nicholls)
- My condolences to Sue and family. He was a lovely gentleman and I always enjoyed chatting with him. He will be sadly missed – Penny Murphy
- Your support in many organizations was greatly appreciated. You will be greatly missed – Bob Coleman
- Thank you for all you have done for others and particularly the University of Ballarat and FedUni. You will be missed – Kim Dowling
- I was lucky enough to interview Bryan about his time in Vietnam. A true gentleman. You can watch his interview HERE – Mick Trembath
- We will miss Bryan’s support, regular visits and advocacy at Sebastopol Primary School. He was an outstanding community leader and a wonderful leader for veterans, the church and those who needed legal support. Lest We Forget – Sebastopol Primary School
- Bryan a true gentleman will be sadly missed around the community. Our club would like to pass on our condolences to Sue and families – Sebastopol Football Netball Club
- Our condolences to Sue, our special thanks to Bryan who was a tower of strength to my family when he was greatly needed – Robert Taylor
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