Edward Marshall Nichols was born September 15, 1900, at Shawnee, Oklahoma and was the son of Edward Hobson Nichols and Millie Ann Brewington Nichols, and the grandson of William Riley Nichols and Mary Elizabeth Boykin Nichols and Barney Brewington and Ruthey Kinney Brewington. Edward Marshall was his father's only child, as Edward Hobson died of kidney failure before Edward Marshall's birth. 

Millie Ann Brewington Nichols remarried when her son Ed was a young child. She married John Sylvester Ball, and they had two daughters, Ruth and Geraldine "Gerry", and a son Harold "Odell". Ed always spoke very highly of his stepfather. From his stepfather, Ed learned to spell “Dadd” with the double d, knowing it was incorrect but wanted to honor his stepfather by using this spelling. 

Ed joined the United States Navy in 1917. At this time he and his family were living in Shamrock, Oklahoma. He was stationed on the USS Kentucky and served only for the duration of World War I 

and received an Honorable Discharge in 1918. Shortly after, he joined the Merchant Marines - amount of time spent as a mariner is unknown.

By 1918, Ed and his mother, stepfather, and three half-siblings had moved to Wirt, Oklahoma. In 1918, Ed's half sister, Ruth, age 16, was killed in a car accident. The family was very active in the local Methodist Church, and even at the age of 21, Edward attended Sunday School regularly. 

During the early to mid 1930's, Ed traveled with the walkathons that toured across the United States. Besides being a contestant, he also performed as a singer and was part of the entertainment act that included Red Skelton. Ed sang professionally on the local radio stations as they toured the United States with the walkathons. He was known for his beautiful voice and his ability to sing whatever song was requested. His stage name was, "Eddie Nichols, man with a million songs".

In December of 1935, Ed was in Camden, New Jersey with the walkathon as a contestant and entertainer, when an admirer of his singing, Beatrice Boody, introduced herself. Evidently, Ed became an admirer of her also, because they married and had seven children; Loretta Ann, Dianne Lee, Edward John, Jeannine Ruth, Linda Sue, Billie Jane, and Joanne Carol – all born at the Cooper Hospital at Camden, New Jersey.

After Ed and Bea married, he gave up the walkathons and singing, and became a salesman working for Mother’s Coffee House. They lived in the Westfield Acres until Ed and Bea bought a home in July 1947, at Colonial Manor, West Deptford Township, New Jersey, where they lived the rest of their lives. 

Those who knew him considered Ed a “Southern Gentleman.” Soft spoken and polite, he had an extensive vocabulary, which he worked on daily by studying new words. Ed enjoyed studying written language skills, and evidently did quite well, as he earned a journalism award in 1965 from the Artisans Order of Mutual Protection. He was a very active voluntary member of the Artisans Order of Mutual Protection holding several official positions. 

Ed played the clarinet, which he enjoyed, but he preferred singing. He also wrote several songs of which he had copyrighted; one song was written for his first-born and titled after her name, “Loretta Anne.”

Edward Marshall Nichols died of emphysema January 25, 1968, in the VA Hospital at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is buried in the Bethel Memorial Cemetery in Pennsauken, New Jersey, where his wife, Beatrice Boody Nichols, is also buried. September 1997, two of his daughters, Linda Sue Nichols Fernandez and Billie Jane Nichols, placed a U.S. flag, mistletoe (mistletoe is the state flower for his birth state of Oklahoma) and blue carnations (carnations were his favorite flower, blue was his favorite color) by his military headstone.

Edward and Beatrice Marshall's children were Loretta Ann, who married John "Jack" Abbott'; Dianne Lee, who  married Edward Primaldi; Edward John, who married Lorraine Long; Jeannine Ruth, who married David Leash; Linda Sue, who married John Fernandez; Billie Jane, who married Lisle "Sam" Waddle; and Joanne Carol, married to Ronald Trentham.

Eddie Nichols
"The Man with a Million Songs"
Thelma, his partner in one of 
the walkathons he participated in

Eddie's Message
Bea Boody

December 19, 1935

Bea Boody's
Autograph Book

December 1935


Many Thanks to Linda Nichols Fernandez, who made this page possible.