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Nellie's Story

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Nellie Ruth (Bickell) DeVos was born on May 16, 1930, in Goodnight, Oklahoma. She was the oldest of six children that were born to Asa Arthur Bickell and Mabel (Ridpath) Bickell. Nellie graduated from Tryon High School in Tryon, OK with the class of 1948. Nellie then followed her father to Ulysses, Kansas in 1949 and she went to work for Chuck and Mary Rogers at their restaurant. In 1952, she moved back to Oklahoma City and worked at Herb's Restaurant. In 1953, Nellie then moved once again to Pomona, California and went back to work for the Roger's family in their new restaurant. They had graciously invited her to stay with them while she worked. In August of 1954, Nellie met the love of her life, Jake Eugene DeVos. They were married two months later on October 16, 1954 in Pomona, CA. To this union three sons were born: Edward Eugene on November 16, 1955, Billy Dale on November 25, 1958, and Roy J. on November 17, 1960. During their time in California, "Gene" and Nellie were members of the Black Jacks of Pomona motorcycle group. They enjoyed riding together and made several trips to Oklahoma and Iowa on their motorcycle. For several years beginning in the late 1950's Gene was involved in "quick draw" competitions. They traveled to many contests together. In 1965, Nellie and Gene moved to Knoxville, Iowa. They operated a cab company and went into business with Gene's brother John DeVos, with D & D Tap. Gene died in 1969 after sustaining injuries in an auto accident. Nellie continued to drive cab another 20 years until the cab company was sold. She then went to work for a short time for Beulah Laughlin at Beulah's Café. Nellie then worked another 15+ years in the kitchen at West Ridge Specialty Care in Knoxville until she retired in 2005. In retirement she enjoyed watching the NFL on TV, especially her Dallas Cowboys. She also enjoyed watching CSI, NCIS, NHRA Drag Racing, Bull Riding and Nascar. She would go through several word search books a week. She also enjoyed the occasional ride on Butchs' motorcycle and Clydes' Ranger. On January 26, 2017, she passed away at the age of 86 years, at West Ridge Specialty Care in Knoxville, while under Hospice care. Nellie is survived by her three sons and their wives: Edward and Cathy DeVos, Billy and Paula DeVos and Roy "Butch" and Laura DeVos, all of Knoxville; four grandchildren: Stefanie Ann Marie and her husband Dan Pfeifer, of Russell, IA, Tiffany Summer DeVos of Knoxville, Joshua Dale and his wife Katie DeVos of Knoxville, and Emily Ann DeVos of Bussey, IA; and two great-grandchildren: Abbigail Pfeiffer and Jace DeVos. Nellie leaves 3 siblings, G. Doreen Roe of Puyallup, WA, Sharon and Ron Burch of Sterling City, TX and GT Bickell of Perkins, OK. Nellie was preceded in death by her husband, her parents and her brothers, Bobby and Roy Bickell. Funeral services were held on Thursday, February 2, at the Williams Funeral Home in Knoxville.
Published on February 8, 2017
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