Esther Nicholson

Former Iolan Esther Bess Nicholson, 91, of Holton died Friday, Dec. 18, 2009, at her daughter’s home in Holton.
She was born Dec. 16, 1918, in Florence, the daughter of Troy P. and Leona Anderson Bess.
She lived in Abilene and Topeka before moving to Holton during the depression. She graduated from Holton High School in 1937. She was a member of First United Methodist Church in Holton and Unity Circle at the church. She was also a member of the Order of Eastern Star and two bridge clubs.
On Nov. 3, 1939, she married Morris Gilkerson in Holton and together with his mother and brother they operated Gilk’s Potato Chip Factory during World War II. She also worked for Ford Motor Co. in Holton as a bookkeeper during the 1950s. He died in 1959.
She then married H.J. “Nick” Nicholson on Dec. 30, 1962, and they moved to Iola. She owned and operated Mode O’ Day dress shop in Iola for 10 years. She also took several classes at Iola Junior College in ceramics, wood carving and painting. He died in 1993 and she moved back to Holton in 1994.
Survivors include a daughter, Peggy Anderson and her husband, Greg, Holton; a sister, Marjorie Ellis, Sun City Center, Fla.; and a granddaughter, Crystal Morgan and her husband, Ron, Kechi.
Services will be at 2 p.m. Tuesday at First United Methodist Church in Holton. Interment will be in Holton Cemetery.
Memorials to the First United Methodist Church or Jackson County Friends of Hospice may be sent to Mercer Funeral Home, Box 270, Holton, Kan. 66436. To leave a message for the family online visit