Graham Preston Nichols, 37, of Rio Rancho, New Mexico, entered into the
nearer presence of the Savior on July 24, 2019, at his home. Graham, born in
Daejeon, Republic of Korea, on October 17, 1981, was the son of Paul B. Nichols,
Jr., of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Judith and David Sheriff of
Graham, who was adopted at the age of 10 months, grew up in Oklahoma City
and Albuquerque. From the third grade, at his insistence, he was enrolled as a
boarding student at the New Mexico School for the Deaf in Santa Fe, New
Mexico, where he excelled not only academically but also in extracurricular
activities. He was on the swim team, played both basketball and football, and
was a regionally acclaimed actor in Deaf theater. Graham graduated in 2000,
and was the valedictorian of his class. Graham’s gentle spirit and generous
heart, and his love of food, led him to pursue a career as a chef. He always
wanted to serve people; his family benefited often from his kitchen
experiments. We especially enjoyed homemade tamales, flavored with red and
green New Mexicn chiles, on Christmas Eve. Graham furthered his education
at Pikes Peak Community College, where he studied culinary arts. When his
health permitted, Graham worked in the food service industry in Colorado
Springs and in Albuquerque. For much of the last decade, diabetes and kidney
disease limited his ability to pursue his passion, but he continued to be in
service to others, assisting close friends with their children even while
undergoing dialysis and, later, experiencing a kidney transplant.
Graham was predeceased by maternal grandparents, Glenn and Mildred
Coleman, and paternal grandparents, Paul and Helen Nichols, as well as by a
baby brother, Timothy Zane Sheriff. Surviving Graham, to cherish his memory,
in addition to his parents, are older siblings Leslie Grantham, Russell Nichols,
Lynn Nichols, and Robert Nichols, and younger siblings Mary Carol Jankowiak,
Ted Sheriff, Sam Sheriff, Julie Sheriff, John Sheriff, Jacob Sheriff, Luke Sheriff,
Levi Sheriff, Noah Sheriff and Ivy Sheriff, and 14 nieces and nephews.
Private services are scheduled. In Graham’s memory, donations may be made
to a scholarship fund at the New Mexico School for the Deaf, to be awarded
annually to a graduate pursuing a career in culinary arts.
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