By HDN Staff
Iona Francis (Dicken) VanVleet Nickoley, 63, died peacefully in her sleep on Thursday, March 28, 2002, at her home of cancer.
Visitation at the Rockman Funeral Chapel in Chester will be Friday and Saturday. Gravesite services will be 2 p.m. Saturday at the Chester Cemetery with the
Rev. Peter Erickson officiating. A coffee hour will follow at the mortuary.
Iona was born on the Shettel farm five miles northeast of Chester to Lois Iona Shettel and Charles Austin Dicken on May 12, 1938. Her family lived in Chester where Iona received her first two years of elementary education.
In 1945, her family moved to Illinois following the death of Iona's grandfather, William Dicken. Iona continued her education at Auburn, Ill. Of interest was the fact that Iona's father worked for an auto business that sold the first Kaiser car in 1947. Following her father's death in 1949, the family moved back to the Shettel farm at Chester.
Iona attended school in Kevin for awhile, then moved to Wallace, Idaho to care for her ailing grandmother Shettel. She was now in her early teens and attended school in Mullan, Idaho.
At age 17, Iona married Charles V. VanVleet on Aug. 8, 1955 in Wallace, Idaho. They lived most of their married in the Missoula community. Three daughters were born to this marriage. They divorced in 1963 in Los Angeles, Calif.
Iona worked as an injection moulder for the Long Life Pen Factory in Monrovia, Calif. in 1963. She continued to operate factory equipment for the next 20 years.
Iona married Dewey Ray Nickoley on July 2, 1966 in Monrovia. They lived at Glendora from 1967-1992. Following Dewey's retirement in 1992, they purchased some land at Magalia, Calif., to be near their very best friends, Bill and Ervene Hicks.
In 1995, they moved to Havre to be closer to relatives and friends. They were enjoying their retirement at the time of Dewey's unexpected death in 1996. Iona continued to live in her home where she enjoyed visits with her children and grandchildren. In 2001, she was diagnosed with cancer.
Iona enjoyed working in her home and yard where she pruned over 50 rose bushes. She liked to read books, bake, make quilts, paint tri-chem projects, and playing cards, especially Canasta. She loved country music and her favorite artists were Dwight Yoakam and Neal McCoy. She enjoyed watching movies and had a large collection of her favorite VCRs.
Iona had a good memory of people, places and events. She was an unassuming lady who enjoyed the simple things in life. She enjoyed visiting with people and was likable. The friends who loved her most affectionately called her "Tiny" or "Toots."
Iona was preceded in death by her husband, Dewey Ray Nickoley; parents; a great-grandson, Daniel; and her best friends, Bill and Ervene Hicks.
Survivors include her daughters, Patricia Lynn Stengel, Diane Iona Johnson, both of Missoula, and Barbara Jean Evans of Havre; step-son, Johnny Joe Nickoley of Pamona, Calif.; brothers, William Dicken of Tacoma, Wash. and Robert Dicken of Yuma, Ariz.; sister, Juanita Arnott of Tacoma, Wash.; 11 grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; numerous nephews, nieces and cousins.
Memorials may be made to the Shriner's Crippled Children's Hospital in Spokane, Wash. or to the donor's choice.
Arrangements are by Rockman Funeral Chapel in Chester.