DeAnna Darris Nichols quietly returned to her Heavenly Father on September 19th, 2023 at the
age of 74. She is survived by her 2 children, 6 grandchildren, and brother. She is preceded in
death by her parents, her older brother, and everybody else who died before her.
Marshall Darris Sr. and Velda Beecroft welcomed the blue-eyed, curly-headed DeAnna Darris
into this world at 6:25 a.m. on May 3, 1948, at St Mary’s hospital in Tucson, AZ. Weighing in at 7lbs and 20 ½ inches long. She was the middle of 3 children spanning almost 3 decades, and the only girl.
As a child she fished with her family and at 5 years old, was the first girl to catch the limit at the
annual fishing derby at Rucker Lake. In 1955 she was an extra in a Hollywood movie and
earned her first $30. Maybe this started her love of stories.
In November 1955, while attending Robison elementary, DeeDee’s smallpox vaccination failed
and she contracted the disease. She blessedly recovered and went on to attend Mansfeld junior
high and graduated in 1966 from Palo Verde high school in Tucson.
After graduation she attended classes at Eastern Arizona College and the University of Arizona, then decided to earn her wings as a Delta Airline stewardess. She was stationed in Georgia and New Orleans, and worked for Delta for a time before joining the Army.
She met and married Norman E. Nichols on Dec 12, 1973 in Bad Toelz, Germany where they were both stationed.
After returning to the U.S., she had two children, and the family split time between Bedford, IN and Tucson, AZ before eventually settling in Tucson. The couple divorced but neither ever remarried.
As a single mom, and with the help of her parents, she completed her bachelor’s in Business Economics from University of Arizona in 1982. While in Tucson, she worked as a bailiff before going back to the University of Arizona to get her Master’s of Library Science.
Upon completing her degree, she and her two children moved to California where DeAnna worked as an indexer for the LA Times.
Injuries to her neck and back prevented her from having a lasting career, and she spent much of
her later years struggling with her pains both of body and mind.
She loved double pinochle, donuts, and Diet Coke; to her it was the drink of the gods and was
literally her last sip.
But greater than her love for Diet Coke was her love, often unexpressed, of
her children and grandchildren. She was so proud of them. She spent the last 20 years near her
son's family, with the exception of a bucket list sojourn to the coast of Oregon. She lived alone
for so many years that she grew used to the quiet solitude, and enjoyed the loud grandkids in
small doses, yet was overjoyed when her whole family was together and wanted to be a part of
Her true joy was her 6 grandchildren. Her place was covered in photos of them, and she loved
to tell others about them. She was so proud of them and loved watching them play sports and
perform in theater and concerts. She even tolerated it when they would come sing to her when a
game was on.
Gma D enjoyed spending holiday dinners with her noisy brood. Oyster dressing
at Thanksgiving, potato salad with apples for Easter, and tamales and “enchilalas” are dishes
that will always remind us of her.
Although in first grade reading and writing were some of her lowest grades, DeeDee would grow
to be an avid and voracious reader. She especially loved mystery novels and wasn’t shy about
her opinion. She would have been a great story critic. She wrote regularly in a journal and even
tried her hand at writing novels, and continued to hone that skill for many years, taking classes
and getting feedback. She was a sports fanatic and especially enjoyed watching her U of A
Wildcats. She could talk about her teams and books easily.
She loved God and found strength in being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints even though it was often a struggle for her to fully participate.
Sleep peacefully until we meet again.
There will be a graveside service for DeAnna on October 20th at 2 p.m. at the Southlawn
Cemetery in Tucson, Arizona.