Cover photo for Joan Cunningham Nicholson's Obituary
Joan Cunningham Nicholson Profile Photo

Joan Cunningham Nicholson

August 10, 1946 — September 23, 2023


Joan Cunningham Nicholson

Waynesville, Joan Cunningham Nicholson, age 77, peacefully passed away on Saturday, September 23, 2023 at Maggie Valley Nursing & Rehabilitation.

Joan was a native of Jackson County but her heart was in Haywood County.  She was a daughter of the late Kelly Cunningham and Elmina Simons Cunningham.  She was preceded in death by two sisters, Flora Jean Fortner and Gladys Frady.

Three words summarize Joan best - she loved life.  She shined most when entertaining people and was known as a big jokester.  Joan had many varied interests and enjoyed baking, cooking, country music, and being outdoors fishing with her son.

She was a natural athlete and leader so she put those qualities to good use by helping start the first women’s softball league in her hometown in the early 70’s.  Taking care of others was Joan’s calling.  She was a tender, compassionate home health caregiver for 20 years and excelled as a mother and grandmother.  Joan was fiercely loyal and supportive of Darren and Taylor’s careers.  Her constant support and hands-on involvement with her family knew no bounds.  She will be deeply missed by those who loved her most.

Joan is survived by her beloved son, Darren Nicholson, and his wife, Jennifer; sister, Beatrice Bleckley; brother, Buddy Ray Cunningham; and dear grandson, Taylor Nicholson.

A Gratitude Gathering to celebrate Joan was held in May 2023 and it was a memorable day filled with so many laughs, smiles, and memories.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Haywood Hospice & Palliative Care, 13 Haywood Office Park, Suite 107, Waynesville, NC 28785.

The care of Ms. Nicholson has been entrusted to Wells Funeral Home of Waynesville.
To order memorial trees in memory of Joan Cunningham Nicholson, please visit our tree store.


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