Obituary photo of Elizabeth Nichols, Denver-Colorado
In Loving Memory of

Elizabeth "Betty" Nichols

1922 - 2012
Elizabeth Nichols led a magical life both here in the United States and abroad as a performer, teacher and elementary music education specialist. Betty, as she was known then, graduated with a dual degree in French and Spanish from Pittsburgh State University, followed by a Masters in flute performance from Kansas State University. She was a member of the Topeka Symphony Orchestra, and later the Brico Symphony Orchestra in Denver. She began teaching music to children in the 1950s, and, during the summers in the 1960s, taught the children of performers at the Aspen Music Festival, where she also studied classical flute. Liz later established an innovative music education program at Colorado Academy, a Denver prep school. Her passion for music, children and teaching inevitably led her to the Orff Institute in Vienna, where she studied with Carl Orff in 1968. Liz returned to the United States to take a position as an associate professor of music education at Ball State University in Indiana. While on sabbatical from the University, she taught in Canada and South Africa, and also gave workshops across the U.S. for decades.

Liz retired to Topeka and remained active by forming a performing renaissance consort with four other musicians, the Castle and Cross. An arm injury in later years left her unable to play her beloved classical flute, so she picked up the Indian Flute, and later formed the Colorado Springs Indian Flute Society. She became known as Grandmother Flute Player, and wrote and published stories and music to use as she presented programs. Her love of nature fostered her interest in writing poetry and especially haikus. She was active in Pen Women, and the Colorado Springs Haiku Association.

She lived an active and creative life for almost 90 years, collaborating, mentoring, and inspiring many along the way, from Kansas and Colorado to Thailand, where she sponsored a young woman who later became a dear friend. She spent the last several years of her life in Colorado Springs with her beloved Siamese cats, Bravo and Encore, who passed away shortly before Liz.

Liz passed away peacefully on July 21, 2012, in sight of her treasured Garden of the Gods. Liz is survived by her son, Peter Nichols of Boulder, her granddaughter, Kelcey Nichols, and many dear friends and colleagues. She attended the Unity Church of Christianity in Topeka.

Memorial contributions may be made to Kansas Children’s Service League ( A memorial service is planned for the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs in September.

To share a memory of Elizabeth or leave a special condolence message for her family, please click the Share Memories button above.

A celebration of the life of Elizabeth Nichols will be held on September 27, 2012, at 2:00 p.m. in the Carriage House of the Rock Ledge Ranch, just before the entrance to Garden of the Gods.

From the North (Denver)
If your heading from the north:

Head south on I-25 then take exit 146 for Garden of the Gods Road.
Turn right onto Garden of the Gods Road and drive west for 2.2 miles.
Turn left at North 30th Street and drive south for 1.5 miles.
Turn right onto Gateway Road across from the Garden of the Gods visitor center.
Turn left almost immediately through the gate into the park drive.
From the South (Pueblo)
If your heading from the south:

Head north on I-25 then take exit 141 for US-24.
Turn left on US-24 and drive west for 1.6 miles.
Turn right at South 21st Street and drive north for 0.6 miles.
Turn left at West Uintah Street and drive west for 0.9 miles.
Turn right on North 30th Street and drive north 1.7 miles.
Turn left onto Gateway Road across from the Garden of the Gods visitor center.
Turn left almost immediately through the gate into the park drive.

Additional directions to the Rock Ledge Ranch are available at:
Send sympathy flowers

Services & Gatherings

Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 2:00 PM
Carriage House of the Rock Ledge Ranch, just before the entrance to Garden of the Gods

Share Memories

Yes, please send me periodic updates from Newcomer Funeral Homes.
We will treat your information with the utmost confidentiality and not share or distribute it in any way.
Condolences should be personal messages from family and friends. For a full version of our online obituary policy, please click here.