Jossie Fox Nichols, 90, of Sarasota, Florida, went to be with her Lord on March 18, 2017.
Born in 1926 to the late Walter Gwynn Fox and Jossie Stumon Fox of Sanford, Florida, Jossie was one of eight siblings. Her family moved to Sarasota in the late 1920s when her father was hired as superintendent of celery operations at Palmer Farms. Jossie attended Sarasota High School and then studied for two years at Spartanburg Jr. College, S.C., before pursuing her lifetime love of and work in early childhood education. She is remembered by many as a remarkable preschool teacher and important children's advocate in the history of Sarasota. She started her private preschool, The Children's Garden, in the early 1950s in the now historic Gillespie Park neighborhood of Sarasota. Jossie believed that children learn through play and hands-on experience. During her fifty years of teaching, her school and philosophies would influence many other teachers and programs. She is affectionately known to hundreds of former students and parents as "Miss Jossie". Jossie and husband, artist Roy Nichols, worked together with the preschool and also with Roy's career in painting and teaching art in South Florida and in western North Carolina. Roy and Jossie ran Fontana Summer School of Art in Fontana, N.C. for twenty-nine years. Later, they spent their summers in Burnsville, N.C. Jossie also took up painting and joined her husband showing in galleries and exhibitions. They moved to Jonesborough, Tennessee, in 2016 to be near their daughter, artist Peggy Root. Jossie was active in education associations, art groups and the Gillespie Park Neighborhood Association. She also worked with children, sang in the choir, and served on the vestry at her beloved Church of the Redeemer in Sarasota, Florida. Jossie is survived her husband of sixty years, LeRoy Welling Nichols Jr., daughter, Peggy Nichols Root, two grandchildren Gwynn Stephenson Root and Charles LeRoy Root, two brothers Richard D. Fox and John Clifton Fox, both of Sarasota and many nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held on April 11 at 3 p.m. at Church of the Redeemer, 222 South Palm Avenue, Sarasota, Florida, 34236. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to: "Church of the Redeemer Building Fund" which will benefit the congregation and community (send to the address above) or "Stephen's LifeVision Home" which is a home for rescued orphans and vulnerable children in Zambia - a mission supported by dear friends. The online link is:
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|EULOGIES & CONDOLENCES|
|Thank you Miss Jossie for being a memorable influence on my life 50+ years ago. I still remember crying when I "graduated" and had to leave you behind and that picture with you on the front porch is still in my mom's scrapbook today.|
|| Brian Clark
|I am one of those children blessed to have been taught by
Miss Jossie Nichols over 50 years ago. She was adored.
What a great example of a teacher. I remember we grew
spinach and the bad news for me was we got to eat it!
Forever grateful to know this great family |
||Dr. Robert V. Barylski
|There is something very important for us to learn from Josie.
Not only is it possible but we should be true to ourselves.
Josie was courteous, graceful, and friendly but did not simply
bend with the wind. She knew how to remain true to her
faith and her strong traditional values but did so without any
sense of superiority. She loved to hear good news about her
many friends and families and was sincerely concerned when
news was less than good. She and Roy were/are talented
teachers and fine artists who also practiced the old fashioned
art of decent living and chipping away at the grand task of
making the world a little bit better day by day. They helped
us to see the beauty in life around us. Their paintings and
the lives of the kids who graduated from The Children’s
Garden are a wonderful legacy. Whenever I think of Ms. Josie,
I find myself taking a slow deep breath and smiling. My late
wife, Irene, admired her greatly. My children, Alex and
Natasha, remember her fondly. We send our love and
condolences to Roy and the family.
|Much love to Roy and family. I was taught
by Miss Jossie and I wish such a fabulous
experience for my little son. Her joy
|2 of my children were taught and nurtured by Jossie and Roy. it was a very happy association. I am sorry to hear of her passing, and send my thoughts and prayers to Roy.|
||Nancy, Bill, and James Hartman
|Dear Mr.Roy and family , We cannot imagine a world
without Miss Jossie and feel profoundly saddened
by her passing . There aren't enough words to say
how lovely a lady she was , from the inside out .
James adored her , and from her preschool through
college he said that she was his best teacher .
She set the bar high . She taught with love and
always with respect . The children knew it and
thrived in her world . We all loved her smile and
her gentle voice . Our sincerest condolences to
you all. with love, Bill, Nancy and James |
||Mrs valentine chilk
|To the Fox and Nichols family
I am sure that Jossie death will cause a big void.
In our long friendship she has always bean a lovely,
vivicious full of life person. She will always be remembered
for her great contribution to educating so many children
My condolences to both families.
Val Chilk ( Sam wife)
|Jossie Nichols was a wonderful friend and mentor
to me and the entire early childhood community in
Sarasota. We worked together for many years in
the Sarasota Association for Children Under Six
and she even volunteered in my office when I
became Executive Director of the state
association. We enjoyed Chinese lunches out. She
was always so upbeat and served as a model of what
a preschool should be. Jossie will be missed!|
||Jean Robinson Kernus
|Rest In Peace Miss Josie. My deepest sympathy to her family
at this sad time. She meant so much to so many, and she had
an amazing and important life. |
||Jacki and Jud Boedecker
|What a powerful influence our beloved "Miss
Jossie" had on countless children (and adults!).
Our heartfelt love and prayers to all her family.|
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