Sad Day

A message from Johnny:

Today is a doubly sad day for the Nicholas family as well as the Hill Top family and the music world at large.

Today, September 1st would have been our dearly departed son and brother Demetrios Rio John Nicholas’ 39th birthday. At 6AM this morning I  was meditating upon his life and his passing when I received a phone call from Carol Fran’s  nephew Christopher who informed me of Carol’s passing last night in her hometown of Lafayette LA. Carol was and  is an R&B legend who started her professional career at the age of 15 going on tour as the piano player in Guitar Slim’s band!

I brought her up to Hill Top to perform at the 1997 Big Band Bash. She had just lost her husband and love of her life the great Clarence Holliman and was sorely grief struck  and in a very sad condition. I convinced her to stay with us for a spell which turned into 4 wonderful years, first at Hill Top with us and then in town(Fredericksburg) at the wonderful little house on Austin Street that Wook and Chris Avery so generously let her stay in(rent free). We enjoyed many a happy night at the Cafe where Carol and I performed almost every night. After hours these nights usually involved a great jam session and some serious poker games as well as some spirited rounds of Booray and lots of good food and libations.

Carol spoiled the boys(Rio, Willie and Alex) at her house in town with her amazing cooking as well as her storytelling, jokes, card tricks and musical talents. After school I oft times heard this refrain: “Dad can we go see Ms Carol today?” Brenda and I loved to oblige whenever we could-Carol could cook as good as she could sing and play and her and Brenda in the kitchen together was non stop culinary magic mixed in with music, laughter and dancing.

Carol made many friends here in the Hill Country(Bitsy, Marisa, Doug, Bob, Ms Diane, Carol Reeh and many more) and all of us are saddened today by her passing but uplifted by the memory of this musical giant and her beautiful heart and soul. As for her personality, to say she was a character is an understatement indeed. You will be sorely missed Carol but I can see you now up there with Rio and  Brenda as well as her runnin buddies Uncle Medie and Aunt Alice(boy were the three of them together a hoot) playing cards and carrying on like old times.

All our love,
Johnny Nicholas
September 1st, 2021

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