York Co. social services head dies in crash; successor not yet named

James “Jim” Nichols
James “Jim” Nichols Contributed, S.C. Department of Social Services

Social services officials across South Carolina are mourning the loss of one of the state’s longtime child advocates, after the death of S.C. Department of Social Services York County Director James “Jim” Nichols in a crash in Chester County.

Nichols, 58, of Chester, worked for DSS for almost three decades and ran York County’s office. He died after a Jan. 31 collision with a logging truck on S.C. 9 near Richburg.

Nichols, a Winthrop University graduate, previously was the head of the DSS office in Fairfield County, and trained many state workers in child welfare operations.

DSS officials have not named an interim director for York County, said Marilyn Matheus, spokesman for the agency.

DSS officials said in a statement that Nichols “worked diligently for children and families throughout the state.”

“We are devastated by this serious loss to our team,” said Susan Alford, director of the S.C. Department of Social Services. “Please join us in our thoughts and prayers for Mr. Nichols’ wife and family.”

Nichols leaves a wife and son, and other extended family.

In 2017, Nichols led York County DSS assessment and assistance of an elderly veteran who had been evicted from his home in Rock Hill.