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Flashlight Alice dies



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July 21, 2010 - After more than 50 years of shining a light on others, Oxford resident Alice (Hauxwell) Nicholson walked toward the light on July 17, 2010. She was 95.

Known far and wide as "Flashlight Alice," Nicholson worked at downtown Oxford's movie theater from the 1940s until the late 1990s.

She derived her nickname from the trusty flashlight she shined on everyone from amorous couples to troublemakers to drunken patrons.

Those who were boisterous, mischievous or overcome by raging hormones feared her flashlight's piercing beam, which in a darkened theater acted more like a spotlight.

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When Nicholson started working at the theater, it was still called the Oxford Opera House.

She started off cleaning, but quickly became adept at doing the books and maintaining order in the theater seating.

As the theater's owner, Ray Foreman, aged, Nicholson actually ran the business for seven years in the 1960s.

When the theater was sold to Arnold Simmons, Nicholson continued to work there, almost making it to the new millennium. For her retirement, Simmons mounted Nicholson's flashlight on a wooden plaque and presented it to her.

It wasn't, however, her original flashlight. That one was lost in the 1972 fire that destroyed the theater.

She didn't get to watch many movies, but her favorites starred velvety-voiced crooner Bing Crosby.

Nicholson is survived by her daughters Barb (Loren) Raymond and Darlene (Michael) Rider; grandchildren Brian, Karen, Brenda, Lorri, Tracey, James, John and Jylnelle; 15 great-grandchildren and 5 great-great-grandchildren as well as by many nieces, nephews and friends.

She is preceded in death by her beloved husband James Nicholson, son Raymond and his wife Mary, daughter Mary, son Edwin and grandson Scott.

A funeral will be held at Lynch & Sons Funeral Directors Bossardet Chapel (39 W. Burdick St.) on Thursday, July 22 at 11 a.m. Friends may visit on Wednesday, July 21 from 3-8 p.m.

Interment at Oxford Twp. Cemetery.

To leave an on-line condolence, visit www.lynchfamilyfuneraldirectors.com.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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