The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

Lester "Swede" Earl Nickels


On the morning of Feb. 3, 2017, at the age of 89, Lester "Swede" Earl Nickles saddled up for his last ride at Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital in Glasgow, Mont., passing away from natural causes. He was surrounded by all his family.

He was born in Glasgow at FMDH on June 20, 1927. He was the youngest of six kids, born to HJ and Lydia Nickels. Swede attended school in Nashua through the grade 9. He was unable to finish school as his father needed his help on the ranch due to the war. Despite not finishing school, he was very well read and was very interested in law.

Swede started taking flying lessons and received his pilot's license at the age of 17. He would run wild horses and fly mail and supplies to neighbors stranded during hard winters. He also spent many hours flying search & rescue looking for missing or lost people. He was very proud of his flying ability. He flew countless hours and did not have any mishaps.

During the war, he spent many weeks running wild horses, cutting stud horses and branding colts and cattle for his neighbors away at war. He was an amazing roper and passed on his talents to his sons and grandsons. Swede entered the army on Jan. 12, 1951 and received an honorable discharge on Aug. 18, 1951.

He married the love of his life, Mildred Maurseth, on Jan. 3, 1952, in Glasgow. They were married for 65 years. They spent their life on a ranch southeast of Nashua. The ranch became the second largest commercial Hereford ranch in the state of Montana. There were 26 steers that went to the Denver Stock Show for the "Catch-a-Calf" program in January 2004. He was the Montana Commercial Hereford Breeder of the Year in 2006. When he was not working, his hobbies were working, working and working some more. He enjoyed following his kids, grandchildren and great-grandchildren in all their events.

Swede was preceded in death by his mother and father, one brother, three sisters and two grandsons,TJ and Zachary Nickels.

He is survived by his wife, Mildred; two sons, Lester and Steve; three daughters, Wanda, Cindy and Tammy; seven grandchildren; Jesse, Luke, Krista, Jeremy, Kyle, Chantille and Asa; 11 great-grandchildren; Lane, Cordelia, MacKayla, Jace, Isabelle, Ethan, Gabriell, Rebecca, Jaden, Ava and Leslie; and one brother, Jack Nickels.

A visitation took place on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017, with family receiving friends at Bell Mortuary in Glasgow. Services were Monday, Feb. 6, at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Nashua. He was laid to rest with military honors at Highland Cemetery in Glasgow.

Swede was loved dearly and will be greatly missed by all. His life mantra was, "It is better to wear out then rust out and I plan on never wearing out."


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