Kathleen Morrison Nickens

July 28, 1949 - May 24, 2019
Kathleen Morrison Nickens thumbnail
Marana Mortuary & Cemetery
Mike and Ann Foster
Marilyn Howland Light a candle


Kathleen Morrison Nickens

July 28, 1949 – May 24, 2019

Kathleen Morrison Nickens (née Mary Kathleen Morrison) passed away peacefully at Tucson Medical Center on May 24, 2019, following a courageous three-year battle with breast cancer.

Kathy was born July 28, 1949 in Liberal, KS to Estelle Mae Graves and George Robert Morrison. When her parents married in San Diego, CA in February 1942, her father was in the coastal artillery at Fort Rosecrans helping to provide defense of the harbor. He later served in Patton’s 4th Armored Division in France and Germany. Her mother was a “Rosie the Riveter” there, working on Consolidated B-24 liberator bombers. Both parents preceded her in death, her father in 1967 and her mother in 2006.

Kathy grew up on a small farm in Southwestern Kansas near the town of Liberal. A majority of her childhood memories and stories came from her five years on the “farm” and her early grade school years in the small nearby town of Plains. As a teenager, Kathy and her family relocated from Liberal to Boulder, CO, where she graduated from Fairview High School before attending the University of Colorado. It was there that she met her husband, Paul. Married in 1968, the couple raised three beautiful children and celebrated their 51st anniversary together in March 2019. She is survived by her husband and children, from oldest to youngest: Lisa of Denver, CO, Laura (Joshua) of Eugene, OR, and Gregory (Kira) of Tucson, AZ. She is also survived by five grandchildren: Taylor, Tristan, Logan, Estelle, and Maxwell.


She was employed in various office administrative positions in four different states during her working career. Her various interests included bowling, tole painting, crocheting, and buying/selling antiques and Southwestern Native American jewelry. She and her husband owned Sabino Books & Antiques for nearly 20 years, setting up annually at dozens of Western and Native American arts and antiques shows and antiquarian book events throughout AZ, NM, CA, TX, and CO. In retirement, she and Paul traveled extensively in the U.S, Canada, Mexico, and Australia. Over the past 12 years, they dedicated considerable effort to document and record their family genealogies, travelling and completing archival research throughout the U.S. and in Nova Scotia. Together, the couple authored numerous family history reports for individual family lines and published several books and articles on other topics.

We will celebrate her life on Saturday, June 22, 2019, at 10:00AM at Marana Mortuary Chapel in Marana, AZ.  A private burial will be conducted on Tuesday, June 4, 2019 at the Arizona Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery at Marana.

In lieu of flowers, those interested are instead encouraged to offer a donation in Kathy’s name to the Arizona Oncology Foundation, Tucson, AZ, where she received treatments.

Leave a Condolence

Life Event Timeline

View Timeline Post an Event

Timeline for Kathleen Morrison Nickens

Born: July 28, 1949
June 7, 2019
“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal. From an Irish headstone”
“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal. From an Irish headstone”
Died: May 24, 2019

Condolences for Kathleen Morrison Nickens

Marana Mortuary & Cemetery

Our sincere condolences.

The staff of Marana Mortuary & Cemetery.


Abe Zeitoun posted on 8/27/19

Paul, I just heard, this morning, of Kathy's passing from someone in the NRC. It was a shock to me. My heart grieves for you. All the staff at SC&A offer their sincere condolences to you and yours. I am so sorry for you loss.


Mike and Ann Foster posted on 6/24/19

Kathy was a dear and valued friend for nearly 50 years. We spent many hours enjoying her company. The Nickens were great travel partners and we explored many corner of the Southwest and anywhere else we could spend time together. Our heartfelt condolences to Paul, Lisa, Laura, and Greg and the grandchildren. Kathy will not be forgotten and will be remembered with a smile. Mike and Ann Foster


Ann and Mike Foster posted on 6/24/19

We have had such great times together. Kathy was loved by all and will be greatly missed! Always loved her laugh!


Melissa Nickens Harris posted on 6/8/19

Paul I just heard of Kathy's passing. I wish we could of seen you both more often. My sincere thoughts and prayers are with you and yout family. I know you have so many memories and were blessed to have her in your life.. Much love. Your cousin and flower girl. Melissa Nickens-Harris


Josy Blevins posted on 6/8/19

I struggle to find words to express the sadness in my heart. I remember the day Kathy called to tell me she had breast cancer. My heart sunk. Even in her most difficult days, she was the faithful friend who was concerned and genuinely interested in what went on in our lives. We became fast friends in 1973 and remain BFFs forever! Its painful losing someone who was more than a friend. Really, she was family! We shared so many life experiences and I am forever grateful for that bond and the love shared by her family. She left us that gift. I read something about loss once that said it doesn’t ever get easier. The spaces between the times you miss them grows longer, but then something makes you think of them again, still with a stabbing pain to the heart. All my love to the Nickens family. I miss my dear, sweet friend!


Peggie Gessner posted on 6/6/19

Paul, LIsa, Laura and Greg, I am so very sorry for your loss. I will miss my friend and our lunches, but I cannot imagine the loss for all of you. Kathy was beautiful in every way. Thinking of you all. Peggie and George


Mike and Ann Foster posted on 6/5/19

A dear friend greatly missed. Lots of laughs, lots of miles traveled together, lots of fun, many New Year's Eves together; many, many good times were had. Thank you Kathy. Mike and Ann


Marilyn Howland posted on 6/4/19

We are so saddened to hear about the loss of Kathy. She was so wonderful to me when I was pregnant with Brandy, her niece, and after she was born. I couldn't have done it without her. All the memories I have of Kathy are all good. She will be missed by her family and all who knew her. With sympathy and love: Marilyn and Ron Howland