Carl Wheeler Nichols, 87, Vero Beach

Carl Wheeler Nichols, 87, of Vero Beach and Harbor Springs, Mich., and formerly Darien, Conn., died Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010, at VNA Hospice in Vero Beach.

He was born in Ottawa, Kan., on Oct. 9, 1923, the son of Carl and Cora Nichols. He grew up in Kansas City, Mo., and attended Southwest High School, recently joining his classmates to celebrate his 70th high-school reunion.

Nichols studied journalism at the University of Missouri and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan in 1944.

He honorably served as a captain in the United States Marine Corp during World War II in the South Pacific and the Korean War. Following his military service, he achieved forty successful years at the advertising agency Cunningham & Walsh, Inc, more than half of that time serving as chairman, CEO.

Under his leadership, the agency grew to become one of the nation’s top 25 advertising firms with some of the most memorable creative work on Madison Avenue: such as, “Let your fingers do the walking” for AT&T Corp.’s Yellow Pages; and “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature” for Anderson Clayton Food’s Chiffon margarine.

In 1974, Cunningham & Walsh was voted Advertising Age’s Agency of the Year. In 1986, Nichols was elected into the Advertising Hall of Fame. Throughout his long career, Nichols never tired of devoting himself to numerous industry associations to better educate the public on the important role of advertising in our society.

He served as board chairman and director and of the American Advertising Federation, director of the Advertising Council and secretary of the Advertising Educational Foundation.

In 1976, Nichols was awarded the Missouri Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism by the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism. Upon retirement his creative background led to become a serious student of watercolor painting.

Nichols was an avid golfer and loved to travel.

He also selflessly contributed to the leadership and welfare of many community organizations.

He served as a past board member of the Riverside Theater, vice president of the John’s Island Club Board of Directors and vice president of the John’s Island Property Owner’s Board.

Additionally, he served on the Advisory Board of the Indian River Medical Center Foundation.

In 1996, he was elected a trustee to the Vero Beach Museum of Art, and in 2003 completed a two-year term as chairman of the Board of Trustees.

He then became a member of the Museum’s Advisory Committee and a Life Trustee.

Nichols’s optimism was infectious, his belief in his family unshakable.

Survivors include his wife, Anna; sons, Carl (Shirley) Jr., of Darien, Conn., and Matt (Lynn), of Seattle, Wash.; daughter, Nancy (Richard) Sundeen, of Carbondale, Colo.; step-son Cliff (Julie) Norris, of Vero Beach; step-daughters Meg Norris, of Vero Beach, and Lindsay (Barry) Durfee of Rowayton, Conn.; 19 grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews and many friends.

He was preceded in death by his first wife, Joan Nichols; daughter, Christy Ferrer; and sister, Corrine Jackson.

A memorial service will be held on Friday, Nov. 12 at 1 p.m., at Community Church of Vero Beach.

In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made in his name to VNA Hospice, 110 35th Lane, Vero Beach, FL 32960, Indian River Medical Center Foundation, 1000 36th Street, Vero Beach, FL 32960 or the Vero Beach Museum of Art, 3001 Riverside Park Drive, Vero Beach, FL 32963.

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