BETTY NICHOLS

BETTY NICHOLS

Betty Bond Heller Nichols passed away peacefully on June 30, 2021.

She was born in Bedford on Feb. 20, 1928, to Elizabeth Clarke Bond Heller and George Edward Heller.

Betty was a great storyteller, and one of her favorite subjects was her childhood trips to Richmond, accompanying her father, a state senator, to sessions of the legislature.

She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Mary Washington College in 1949 with a degree in Portuguese and Russian Languages. She married Jim Synan in 1951 and together they had three children, Cathy, Kevin and Anne.

Her life in Bedford was filled with music, especially playing the piano. Whether it was coaching and accompanying Miss Virginia contestants or playing for productions of the Little Town Players or leading singa-longs following dinner parties in her home, her lifelong love and enthusiasm for music brought joy to all whom she met. Her love of music continued in 1990 when she moved to Lexington to marry Col. Lee Nichols. She continued to accompany community musicals as well as performances at VMI.

Perhaps her crowning achievement was when, in her late 80s, she became a regular pianist at Haywood’s restaurant, delighting diners with her playing of hundreds of songs from Broadway to the American Songbook, all from memory.

However, her love of music took second place to her love of family. In addition to her own three children, Betty Bond was blessed with four grandchildren, Sarah, Ben, Chris and Peyton Ritter. These four, in turn, have been blessed to grow up around the corner from a grandmother whose smile, wit, laugh, generosity, love of the beach and cruises, storytelling and unconditional love have been a daily part of their lives.

In addition to her parents, Betty Bond was preceded in death by her brother, Gardner Parrish Heller. Surviving are her children Cathryne Tilson Synan Whitten (Jim Whitten), Kevin Clark Synan (Jennifer Hodge), and Anne Gardner Synan Ritter (Gordon Spice, husband and Mark Ritter, former husband); grandchildren Sarah Katharine Ritter, Benjamin Clarke Ritter, Christopher MacFarlane Ritter, and Peyton Gardner Ritter and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

A celebration of the life of Betty Bond Nichols will be held on Saturday, July 10, at 3 p.m. in the sanctuary of Trinity United Methodist Church. Attendees are respectfully requested to wear colorful casual attire.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be given to Rockbridge Area Hospice, 315 Myers St., Lexington, VA 24450; or Trinity United Methodist Church, 147 S. Main St., Lexington VA 24450.

Arrangements are by Harrison Funeral Home & Crematory. N-G

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