At sunset on July 22, 2020, Nicole Marie Dimas (formerly Nicole Graham) passed away in Walnut Grove, MO at the age of 40. Nicole faced debilitating pain and worsening symptoms brought on by a combination of diseases, including Huntington's Disease and a preliminary medical diagnosis of late stage ovarian cancer. She is survived by her loving parents Robert and Terry Stephens, and a network of family and friends that love her dearly and miss her every day.
Nicole was born in Ohio and spent time growing up in Hong Kong before settling in Oregon with her family, where she spent most of her adolescence. At a young age she was confident moving around a busy city by herself and would often bring her best friend along on her exploration adventures. Growing up she enjoyed competitive swimming and became a junior lifeguard. She also enjoyed music and would attend any rave she could get into. When she wasn’t dancing around, you would find her at the gym lifting something heavy, just like her big sister who inspired her to be fit. This love of exercise and being outdoors also pushed her into hiking, skydiving, kayaking, biking, she would even compete in triathlons.
Arizona State University was fortunate to have Nicole in attendance at the young age of 17. When she enrolled, she had already completed credits at Portland Community College so her first degree was finished quickly. She finished her second degree at 20 and then set her sights on medical school. Nicole was a beautiful girl on campus, and one that was very hard to keep up with. Her competitive spirit, strength, and resilience kept her out in front in any arena she chose.
Nicole always had a way of attracting strong relationships even though she wasn’t an outgoing person. This resulted in lifelong friendships that she cherished. Most people, when asked, would tell you that she was one of the strongest, toughest, and by far the smartest people they had ever met. When she was diagnosed with a genetic brain disease in her mid-twenties, it was very hard on her and the people she was close to.
As the years pass with any disease, there are ups and downs. Following college, Nicole was happily married for ten years and with her husband, enjoyed raising Cane Corso dogs and other service breeds in Arizona before they amicably parted ways. She had a lot of fun during this time in her life, always being as active as possible, and we can all say her dogs enjoyed it as well. Sadly, her time and what she could do with it became limited due to her declining health.
The last few years of Nicole’s life were spent in southwest Missouri where she enjoyed food, new friends, being in love, having her independence, and being close to nature. She also loved being in an area where she was only a few hours’ drive to hard-rock concert venues, and she would take in every show she could talk her friends into going with her to. She was proud of what she had accomplished in her life and at the end of most days she loved sitting outside reading (an entire book sometimes) or watching the sun set in her beautiful world; and it loved having her.
Throughout her life, Nicole had a way of rarely showing the pain she was in. She smiled a lot and made the best of everything she could. This was inspirational to those of us around her who knew what she was really going through. We will always remember her strength, her beauty, and her way of changing us. We will always love her, always miss her, and always cherish the time we had with her. So, until we meet again…..
There will be no formal funeral service. A small observance with family and friends will be held at a time when travel is safe. In lieu of flowers, we ask that donations be made in her name to any of the following organizations: The American Cancer Society; Huntington’s Disease Society of America; and The Humane Society.
Cremation is under the direction of the Kissee-Schofiled-Eakins Funeral Home Forsyth, MO.