Charlotte Virginia Golladay Nichols passed peacefully on February 10 with her family by her side at her residence at Hidden Springs, where she had lived for three years. Charlotte, who touched many lives, leaves behind a Rappahannock County legacy, a loving family, and a community of respect.
Charlotte is predeceased by her husband Paul Andrew Nichols of Flint Hill, VA, her parents, William Luther “Bud” and Lula Ellen Doll Golladay of Woodstock; her sister Dorothy Golladay Sacrey and her late husband of Silver Spring, MD, and her sister Ann Rebecca “Becky” Golladay Gardner of Woodstock. She leaves behind an extensive family including three sons - Paul Andrew “Andy” and his wife, Dori, of Frederick, Maryland and their three sons; Curtis and his wife Karen of Barneveld, NY, and their three daughters and two sons; Douglas and his wife Deb of Stafford, VA, and their three sons and one daughter; one daughter Leslie Nichols Marangoni and her husband Guy, also of Stafford, VA., and their two sons; and dozens of nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews, and great-great nieces and nephews. She leaves behind a legacy of mentorships, relationships and memories.
The third daughter of the late William “Bud” and Lula Ellen Golladay, Charlotte was born on July 13, 1928, in Mt. Rainer, Maryland, where the family had moved for a short period of time. As a toddler, Charlotte participated in Easter Egg Roll when Herbert Hoover occupied the White House. But, the family returned soon after to Woodstock, where Charlotte developed the reputation for being the “tomboy” and was often found milking cows or driving hay wagons on the family farm just west of Woodstock. Even as an adult, Charlotte was known for her love of God’s creation – her flying squirrel, her pig, her cats, her dogs and various other creatures she took under her loving wing to nurture and grow. Charlotte knew no strangers and set a place for all at her table.
In 1945, she graduated from Woodstock High School and went to Lynchburg College, where she majored in music. There she met Paul Nichols, whom she married in 1953.
In 1950, Charlotte become an integral part of the Rappahannock community. Using a county-provided 1942 Ford as a means of transportation, Charlotte moved from school to school and taught music in and around Rappahannock County, providing lessons in four African American schools and seven predominately white schools for several years. Later From her home she gave piano lessons to dozens of little fingers. From her love of music and the church Charlotte became involved in Trinity Episcopal Church in Little Washington, where she joined the choir and served as choir director and organist for decades. In fact, Charlotte found her job as organist at Trinity through her willingness to serve. The Trinity organist had not had a vacation in years and asked Charlotte to fill in while she took her vacation. The organist never returned. Charlotte kept the job for 20 years and later became choir director. Her former pastor, Rev. Jenning Hobson, remembers Charlotte’s ministry was to welcome people to church – any church. If they did not have one, she would find one for them. She was the reception committee, always making people welcome in her church.
In addition, she was an avid supporter of Trinity’s annual House Tour and Dried Flower show, the keeper of the keys for the afternoon tea and, also, a provider of the flowers which were sold to support to the construction of the fellowship hall. She participated in this event for more than 30 years.
Her love of music followed her throughout her life; she sang with the Front Royal Oratorio Society in the 1960s and again later, with her daughter Leslie, in the 1990s.
As a member of the Rappahannock community, Charlotte’s passion for learning drove her community outreach. There was nothing that Charlotte could not learn and nothing that she could not teach. In the 1970s, Charlotte organized a pre-school/kindergarten in her home prior to the county offering a formal program. Children learned music, colors and their numbers on the floor in Charlotte’s living room. When she was not teaching during the day, Charlotte taught night school to adults in Rappahannock County. She had an uncanny patience and understanding when it came to teaching, the outcome always the success of the learner, never how long it would take to teach. Later, she became a physical science teacher in Warren County Public Schools where she coached middle school volleyball for several years; she retired in 1992. While teaching in Warren County Public Schools, she became a mentor to the young teacher Vicki Rudacille Davison, a friendship Charlotte would keep until the end of her days.
Charlotte’s devotion to scouting was unmeasurable. She served as a den mother for cub scouts and, later, served on the executive board for the Shenandoah Area Council Boy Scouts of America. Charlotte made two trips to the Boy Scouts of America Philmont Ranch in Cimarron, NM, with her family, an accomplishment for the most trustworthy of scouts, and she was often found at Camp Rock Enon for the weekly Order of the Arrow celebration, as she supported any boy who participated in scouting.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Charlotte was Rappahannock County Magistrate, serving her community at all hours of the day and night. In addition, she was an active supporter of 4-H, working tirelessly for the 4-H Educational Center in Front Royal during the 1980s and 1990s and leading a 4-H Day Camp. She was a member of the Rappahannock County Library Board, an active supporter of the new library construction in the 1980s. She supported the annual Flint Hill Volunteer Fire Department Carnival – and will be remembered as the sole provider of biscuits for the boxed suppers.
Charlotte loved living. She loved her community, her countless dogs and cats, her friends and her family. She loved to cook, to share stories of her youth, to encourage the less fortunate and to serve the needy.
A celebration of life will be held on March 9 at Trinity Episcopal Church in Washington at 11 am. A reception will follow.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests all donations be made to Trinity Episcopal Church, 379 Gay Street, Washington, VA, or the Rappahannock County Public Library, 4 Library Road, Washington, VA 22747.