Ruth Ann (Allen) Nicholls - Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Homes & Crematory

Ruth Ann (Allen) Nicholls

November 15, 1929 - December 30, 2022

Ruth Ann (Allen) Nicholls, age 93, of Newark, DE, passed away peacefully at home on Friday, December 30, 2022, surrounded by her family.

Born and raised in Iowa on November 15, 1929, she was a daughter of the late Arthur and Elizabeth (Ferguson) Allen. Ruth graduated from Glidden High School and attended Iowa State Teachers College in Cedar Falls. While teaching elementary school in Manning and Ames, she met her husband, Bob, a graduate student at Iowa State University, and after marrying moved with him and their young family to Delaware in 1959. After a decades-long pause in her education, Ruth returned to her studies and graduated from the University of Delaware in 1988 with a B.S in Education at age 58.

Ruth and Bob shared 63 years of marriage, mostly in Newark, DE where Ruth was a tireless volunteer serving many organizations which focused on education, literacy and nature. Ruth was a long-time member of the Newark United Methodist Church where she also worked as Director of the Newark Methodist Preschool, the Friends of the Newark Free Library where she chaired the first preschool story hour and summer reading program, the University of Delaware Women’s Club where she was honored as Woman of the Year in 1996 and served as chair for the International Hospitality Group. She was also a member of PEO Chapter I, Delaware Herbalists and the Newark Senior Center. Ruth was passionate about many things: staying connected with friends and relatives, tending the wildflower garden that attracted her beloved birds and butterflies, trying out new recipes and listening to classical music. She was a voracious reader, lover of nature and an intrepid adventurer.

In addition to her parents, Ruth has joined her husband, Robert L. Nicholls, who passed in April 2022; son, Thomas who passed in 1967; brother, Charles Allen (Margaret); sister, Kathryn Messerly (John); sister, Dorothy Cuvelier (Theodore); and brother, Robert Allen (Sherri). Her jovial smile, kind-heartedness and shortbread cookies will be missed by her children, David (Charlotte) of Sitka, AK, Jonathan (Amy) of Bear, DE, and Carol of Newark, DE. She was a wonderful grandmother to Sarah (Calvin), Joshua and Jacob who will especially miss her sugar jumble cookies, and a beloved aunt to a multitude of nieces and nephews. Ruth’s life was enriched by many dear friends from her early Iowa teaching days and decades of living in Newark.

The family wishes to extend their immense gratitude to the staff at Fox Therapy, The Summit Assisted Living and AccentCare Hospice – in particular Marianne, Cristina, Rose, Collette and Shakira – for their compassionate support in recent months.

A visitation for family and friends will be held from 10 am until 11 am on Saturday, January 14, 2023, at the Newark United Methodist Church, 69 East Main Street, Newark, DE, where a celebration of Ruth’s life will begin at 11:00 am. Inurnment will be held privately.

Those wishing to honor Ruth’s memory may make a donation in her name to one of the following organizations: Newark United Methodist Church’s Bunting Library, Attn: Jan Pochan, 69 East Main Street, Newark, DE 19711 or online by clicking here; Friends of the Newark Free Library, Attn: Lisa Burris, 750 Library Avenue, Newark, DE 19711 or online by clicking here; Friends of White Clay Creek State Park, PO Box 9734, Newark, DE 19714-9734 or online by clicking here; or Newark Senior Center’s Meals on Wheels, 200 White Chapel Drive, Newark, DE 19713 or online by clicking here.


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8 Condolences for Ruth Ann (Allen) Nicholls

  • Aunt Ruth was a very special lady and a wonderful aunt. I enjoyed our visits very much and our common bond in elementary education. I cherish the visits to Iowa and to Delaware.

  • Dear Family of Ruth:
    I wish to extend my sincere condolences for your loss. Ruth was such a classy and special lady. I have had the pleasure of knowing and serving with Ruth as a P.E.O. sister through Delaware P.E.O. Chapter I. I will always remember Ruth as an incredible listener. She took great interest in others and made all of us feel very special. I am so grateful to have known Ruth for over 19 years. She will be missed. All of you are in my thoughts and prayers at this time.
    Peg Mitchell, Chapter I member and President, DE State Chapter P.E.O.

  • Ruth was a valued member of our Sunday School class at Newark United Methodist Church for all of the 40+ years that I have been a member of that class. She provided us with thoughtful insights as we covered a wide range of topics. We appreciated the roles she took in the church in the preschool, library, and outreach programs to people who had backgrounds in other cultures. We will miss her presence in our future classes, and her passing is a big loss for our church and the community.

  • What a wonderful person she must have been. As a friend of Carol’s, I send my deepest condolences. May the sweet memories survive.

  • Our prayers and condolences to the family on the loss of Aunt Ruth. We so enjoyed the time we spent with her and the family during our time assigned to Dove AFB. We rejoice she is with Jesus, Bob, Tom and other family and look forward to the time when we will all be together again!

    Al, Sue, Amy and Paul Messerly, Altus, Oklahoma

  • Carol and all,
    We are so sad to learn of your Mom’s passing. She was such a warm hearted and friendly neighbor to my parents for so many years. I know that your Mom and mine liked to talk plants and books, too. Thinking of you all as you mourn her passing.

  • Ruth, we have loved you for many years. We had so much fun with you and Bob while our kids were growing up—the backyard picnics on Beverly Road, the camping trips, the nighttime parties. We and the Roths and the Myers will always hold you and Bob in our hearts.

  • My heartfelt condolences to all Ruth’s family on her passing. I will always remember her warmth and kindness from the years when our family lived across the street from hers on Beverly Road and her longstanding friendship with my mother. I treasure the lovely letter Ruth wrote to me after my mother died and hope your memories of her will lift your spirits during this very sad time.