Clarissa Denise Nichols passed away July 4, 2023. Clarissa began her young life on November 21, 1949, on the Colville Indian Reservation in Nespelem, Washington. She started school at the Ursalines in Mission. From there, she bounced around South Dakota where she attended school in Pierre and Flandreau. As the second oldest child out of thirteen, she had to grow up fast and give a hand in raising her younger siblings. She was always very motherly. It didn’t matter who you were, she would talk to you like she was your mother. Despite her stern tone, she was a generous and kind person. She gave her time to her friends and family. We all remember her at someone’s bedside until they took their last breath.
In 1972, she gave birth to her first son Wendell “Woody” Redcloud. She then completed her family with Richard Nichols who fathered three more children, Justin (JD), Raymond, and Rikki Nichols. She mothered even more children from other families, Rick Nichols, Francois Burke, Kenny Lozeau, and numerous others.
If you spend enough time in Elmo, Dayton, or Big Arm, you’ll see the young ones imitating her with her famous head and arm fakes to her hard phrases. She loved pow-wows (mainly stickgames) camping, shopping, and anything else that got her up and out of the house. She was so good at everything that it is difficult to pinpoint one single thing that she was good at. From beading, to cooking to working on vehicles. Amidst all this, her greatest accomplishment was being an amazing mother.
She joins her parents Dennis and Louise Burke, brothers Clifford and Francis Burke, Willie Burke (baby brother) sisters Clarinda, Gaga, Wilma “Beana” Burke, a son Rick Nichols, grandson Josiah Nichols, and her husband Richard Nichols.
She is survived by her sons Wendell Redcloud, J.D. Nichols, Raymond Nichols, and her daughter Rikki Nichols. Brothers Michael Burke, Marlin Burke, Tyrone Burke, Reuben Burke, and her sister Marcella Burke. And numerous cousins, grandchildren and great grandchildren, family, and friends.
A wake for Clarissa will begin Thursday, July 6, 2023, at 4:00 pm, Rosary will be Friday, July 7th at 8:00 pm, and funeral services on Saturday, July 8th at 10:00 am, all at Elmo Hall. Burial to follow at Dayton Cemetery.