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Naperville
Sunday, April 21, 2024

Publisher, Editor, Mayor

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James Lawrence Nichols II was born December 9, 1890, in Naperville, DuPage County, Illinois. He was the son of James Lawrence Nichols, after whom Nichols Library is named, and Elizabeth Barnard.

He attended the Phillips Exeter Academy and graduated from the University of Illinois in the class of 1913 where he was a member of the Phi Delta Gamma fraternity. James II was a member of the R.O.T.C. while attending the University of Illinois and attained the rank of Sergeant.

He married Julia Maria Williams on January 1, 1917, in Naperville. From this union three children were born: Nancy Jane, James Lawrence III and Julietta. (Nancy Jane married Dean Alan Olson and Julietta married Robert L. Eby.)

During World War I, James II served overseas as a Corporal in Headquarters Company 332, Field Artillery.

James II ran the family business of book publishing after graduating from college.

In 1939, he went to work for the Kroehler Furniture Manufacturing Company as the office manager of the theater seat division.

In 1943 he was made the Editor of the Kroehler News and received national awards and recognition for running one of the finest industrial magazines.

While at Koehler’s, James II also was made the Director of Public Relations in 1950 and was also the official Historian for the company. He also served as a Director of the Naperville Building and Loan Association for 14 years.

On April 16, 1935, James II was elected to his first term as Mayor of Naperville. He went on to be elected three more times, serving as Mayor for 16 years until 1951. 

James was a member of the American Legion and VFW Posts in Naperville as well as the Rotary Club of Naperville. He served as Secretary of the First Congregational Church Board of Trustees.

He was a member of Euclid Lodge No. 65, A.F. & A.M. and served as Master of the Lodge in 1924 and 1925. James was also a member of Euclid Chapter No. 13, R.A.M.

James Lawrence Nichols II died February 18, 1955, at Copley Hospital in Aurora. The Rev. Robert Chatfield Kemper, pastor of the First Congregational Church, gave the sermon and James was buried in the Naperville Cemetery.

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Tim Ory
Tim Ory
Tim Ory is a fifth-generation Naperville native, descended from Francois Sebastien Ory, who immigrated to America from Alsace Lorraine, France, in 1844. Signing off as "Tim Ory, Historian, Euclid Lodge No. 65 Ancient Free & Accepted Masons," Tim adds that he continues to research the History of the Masonic Lodge and Naperville every day. Contact him at tjory@sbcglobal.net.
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