Mary “Tootie” Nickles


Funeral services and a Mass of Christian Burial for Mary M. “Tootie” Nickles, 84, a resident of Davenport, were held Nov. 7, 2009, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Davenport. Burial was in Holy Family Cemetery. Mrs. Nickles passed away peacefully Nov. 5, 2009, at the Clarissa C. Cook Hospice House. Halligan McCabe DeVries Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.

Mary Margaret Spiess was born February 5, 1925, a daughter of William and Mary Spiess. She was united in marriage to William C. Nickles in 1945 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. He preceded her in death on November 3, 1990.

 After the 10th grade, Mary went to work at the Davenport Cap Factory, making men’s caps on piecework. She later sewed garments for the nuns at Marycrest.  When West High first opened in 1960, she went to work in the cafeteria, and worked her way up to manager. When an opening came up at Iowa-Illinois Gas & Electric Co. for a custodian, she took it. Mary did everything from driving a snowplow to serving food at board meetings. She retired from there to be her husband’s caretaker at home.

If there is a Singer sewing machine and craft room in heaven, Mary is there. She loved to sew, and was very creative. She could make something out of nothing.  Gardening was also one of her passions. She could stick anything in the ground, and it would grow. Laughter is what kept her going. She always found humor in every situation.


Mary was a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, and the Christian Mothers.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Clarissa C. Cook Hospice House, or to a favorite charity.

She is survived by her daughter, Linda Nickles, Davenport; her son and daughter-in-law, Rick and Sue Nickles, Peoria, Ill.; grandsons, Matthew (Kelly) Nickles and their daughters, Brey and Katie, Mark (Amanda) Nickles, and Zachary Nickles; a brother, Bill (Betty) Spiess; a sister, Ann Hess; and several nieces, nephews, great –nieces, and great-nephews.

Mary was preceded in death by her husband, William, infant daughters, JoAnn and Patricia, her parents, brothers, Barney, Fritz, Joe and Walt Spiess, and sisters, Loretta Rakocy and Dorothy Pierce.

The family would like to thank the aids, nurses, and staff at the Clarissa C. Cook Hospice House for the wonderful and exceptional care. Online remembrances and condolences may be expressed by visiting Mary’s obituary at

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