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Doris Marilyn [Tucker] Nicholas

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A Light has Dimmed between West Virginia and Bermuda

Doris Marilyn [Tucker] Nicholas Ed.D.

December 25, 1947 – January 8,2021

The family of Dr. Doris Marilyn Nicholas are saddened to announce her sudden and unexpected passing early on the morning of Friday, January 8, 2021.

Doris Nicholas was born in Happy Valley, Pembroke to the late Phillip Leroy Tucker and Phyllis Gwendolyn Tucker. She was the youngest sister to William and Janet and a part of the large Tucker, Adams, Pearman, Dillas and Simmons families.  Doris was a friendly, adventurous, bright and talented youngster who enjoyed all of the freedoms and excitements that the Happy Valley of the day afforded; getting into lots of ‘good trouble’ with her cousins.

Doris attended the Northlands and Central Primary Schools and The Howard Academy. She completed her high school education at Ontario Ladies’ College in Whitby, Ontario. After working as a teller for The Bank of Bermuda she left the island in the early 1970s to attend West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia.

Doris attained her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Social Work at West Virginia University and returned to Bermuda for a short time to work for Teen Services, then located at Teucer House. She returned to Morgantown permanently where she married Mr. Robert Nicholas, a well-known entertainer. Together they raised five children, Allan Bean Jr., Robert Nicholas Jr., Susan Nicholas MD, Ryan Nicholas and Trevor Dion Nicholas. They have seven grandchildren:. Alexa, Adrianna, Isaiah, Blake, Hana, Tucker, and Wolf

Doris Nicholas spent 12 years as the director of Social Services at Ruby Memorial Hospital, a tertiary care hospital and the only Level One Trauma Center in West Virginia. While the Director of the Social Services Department, she was instrumental in the development of the first Medical Ethics Committee at Ruby. During her employment at Ruby Memorial Hospital she also served as the interim director of the Physical Therapy Department, the Human Resource Department, the Outpatient Dialysis Unit, as well as the Hospital’s Emergency Transportation Units over a tri-state area of West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Doris Nicholas went on to attain her Ed.D from West Virginia University College of Human Resources and Education and spent 20 years of her career as a faculty member in The Social Work Division of West Virginia University. Her teaching experiences included both undergraduate as well as graduate classes. Her teaching included classes dedicated to social work practice in health care as well as aging. She developed and taught graduate classes focused on multicultural practice. Dr Nicholas’ expertise in cultural diversity and social work practice was instrumental in the recruitment and retention of a diverse Social Work student body.

Dr. Nicholas was a strong advocate for students of colour who were studying at WVU and was known for doing outstanding work; leading several committees and conferences on issues of non-dominant students on predominantly white campuses, African-American history and diversity in educational opportunity. She continued this work beyond her retirement working with the faculty committee on BLM and diversity and equality for people of colour.

Dr Nicholas’ research and community service interests centered around issues of diversity; especially ensuring that education practitioners developed a multicultural practice approach and developed understanding of how persons of colour experience success in white-dominant cultural environments.

Dr. Doris Nicholas was a strong advocate for further education and never forgot her homeland. As Director of Recruitment for The School of Social Work and an advisor and resource person to both undergraduate and graduate diverse students she made connections with Bermuda’s high school and college students through Bermuda’s yearly college fair. Reserving every December for her visit to our high schools and Bermuda College, she enthusiastically promoted West Virginia University programs of study. She was responsible for the implementation of the 2 plus 2 program between The Bermuda College and West Virginia University. She has mentored a dozen students from The Berkeley Institute through degrees in Education, Business and Social Work at WVU. In the words of one Bermudian student: Dr. Nicholas was a support to many students at WVU, but especially students of colour. She helped us, advocated for us, and fought for us. Dr. Nicholas was selfless, strong, a visionary, a leader and a pillar for many of us.

Doris Marilyn Nicholas EdD is survived by her Uncle and Aunt Clyde and Alethea Tucker, Aunts Betty Butterfield, Helen Dillas and Gladys Dillas and niece Cymone Tucker, great nieces, great-great nieces and nephew and a host of cousins, godchildren and friends.

 For her Bermuda family of Tuckers, Dillases, Adamses, Pearmans and Simmonses and her Nicholas American family, Doris was the glue. Always enthusiastic about a visit or a family reunion or for Cup Match, for which she was an enthusiastic Somerset supporter, she returned at least once a year just for family, often bringing one or two family members or friends with her. Her  visit of 2018 brought a following of twenty American relatives.

She was ‘Aunt Doris’ to the younger generations of second, third and fourth nieces, nephews and cousins. She made sure that she was a part of everything in their lives from baptisms, college graduations to nuptials.  She freely gave them advice, requested or not, which assisted in their educational and social development. They looked forward to seeing her as they now lament “she was so much fun!”.

Family was always invited and welcomed to visit her home in Morgantown, West Virginia and family took up the offer as often as they could. She became the role model for generations of family members, several who, upon her invitation, also attended and became graduates of Morgantown High School or West Virginia University. The generations have stayed very close and in touch because of her insistence and encouragements.

 Doris called or texted someone in her Bermuda family every day. We shared all of the current family news, local news, US news and London news as one of her sons, two of her grandchildren and a niece lives there. If anyone was abroad for medical treatment she stayed in contact; calming and reassuring. If anyone was ailing she had a way of comforting with humour. She loved her family both here and abroad with intensity and always yearned for our company as we did for hers.

We, in the Tucker, Dillas, Adams, Pearman and Simmons family, have lost a shining light. She was a force to be reckoned with and we all loved, respected and admired her for it.

Information regarding funeral arrangements for Doris Marilyn [Tucker] Nicholas can be found from the website of Hastings Funeral Home, 153 Spruce Street, Morgantown. Funeral Services will be held privately but Bermuda family and friends may witness the service live on the Suncrest United Methodist Church, Morgantown, West Virginia Facebook page Wednesday at 11 a.m. Noon Bermuda Time. Zoom credentials are available upon request.

Submitted by The Family


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