Former vice mayors pass away

Former Chico City Councilmen Jim Walker and Tom Nickell die in short succession

Chico has lost two of its former vice mayors in short succession. Jim Walker died on June 18 at the age of 64 after a months-long struggle with brain cancer. One month later, on July 19, Tom Nickell (see Guest Comment: “Rest in peace: friend of Chico”) was found dead in his Chico home. He was 66.

The cause and exact date of Nickell’s death has not been released by the Butte County Coroner’s office.

Both men were Democrats who had similar public-service experience. They served overlapping four-year terms on the Chico City Council—Nickell 2006-2010, Walker 2008-2012—with Walker succeeding Nickell as vice mayor. Both had stints on the Bidwell Park and Playground Commission and the board of the Chico Area Recreation and Park District.

Jim Walker

Walker was a longtime physician’s assistant in Chico, most recently working with Enloe Medical Center, and Nickell was retired from the California Highway Patrol.

A memorial for Walker will take place on Sept. 25, with details to be posted on the Newton-Bracewell website (, and a memorial for Nickell will happen Oct. 1, 1 p.m., at Lakeside Pavilion.

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