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Jones, Rich & Barnes Funeral Home

199 Woodford Street, Portland, ME

OBITUARY

William Hart Nichols Jr.

August 4, 1930July 25, 2020

William Hart Nichols, Jr. passed away at home in Falmouth, ME on Saturday, July 25, 2020, just ten days short of his 90th birthday.

Bill was born in Hartford, CT in 1930 and grew up in Weston, MA. His parents, W. Hart Nichols and Ruth Nichols, imbued him with strong values and a lifelong love of the outdoors. He met the love of his life, Janet Martin, on a blind date in high school; they were married in 1953. After graduating from Harvard University in 1952, he served as a Communications Officer in the U.S. Navy aboard the tanker U.S.S. Pawcatuck for two years. Bill then joined the W. H. Nichols Company, the precision manufacturing business created by his grandfather, William Henry Nichols. Bill led the company’s expansion from its Waltham, MA headquarters to build a new manufacturing plant in Portland, ME in 1967 before adding 4 more plants in 3 other states. The company was sold to Parker-Hannifin in 1984. The Nichols Portland plant remains one of Portland's largest employers today.

Bill and Jan raised their three children in Sudbury, MA in the 60s and 70s, During these years, Bill attended a Professional Management Development program at Harvard Business School and was active in the Young President’s Organization (YPO). He was deeply involved in the community in Waltham, MA, including serving on the boards of BayBank Middlesex, Chapel Hill -Chauncy Hall School, and the Waltham Hospital.

Bill and Jan moved to Maine in 1981, residing in Cumberland Foreside, Yarmouth and Falmouth over the next 36 years. Their favorite place was the cabin they built on Kezar Lake in Lovell, ME in 1967, where their family and friends gathered for over 50 years.

Bill and Jan loved Maine and contributed to the community in many ways. While Jan opened a popular candy shop called Temptations in the Old Port from 1984-94, Bill enjoyed his leadership roles in several major endeavors related to Maine’s natural habitats, including the Maine Caribou project (1985-93), an attempt to repopulate caribou into Maine’s wilderness. He was elected to the Maine Atlantic Salmon Authority in 1998 and was appointed by then Gov. Angus King to serve as its Chairman until 2002. Bill served as Treasurer of the International Appalachian Trail Project during it’s first decade. This collaboration among countries on three continents successfully extended the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Canada, and eventually to Europe and Africa. Bill was later named the IAT’s first Honorary Director.

He was an avid fly fisherman, hunter and mountain climber; Bill entered the 4,000 Footer’s Club in 1990 when he completed summiting all of the 4000’+ peaks in New Hampshire. In his early 50s, Bill was the oldest in his group to complete a two-week Outward Bound course at Maine's Hurricane Island. He served on the boards of the Owls Head Museum of Transportation in Owls Head, ME, the Susan L. Curtis Foundation, and the Moss Tent Company.

Bill’s greatest love was his family. He is survived by Jan, his wife of 67 years, and their three children: William Nichols III of Chicago, IL, Judy Paul of New York, NY, and Susan Nichols of Falmouth, ME; four grandchildren: David Nichols (and spouse Rebecca Nichols), Scott Nichols (and partner Cam Pentimone), Evan Paul (and spouse Chelsea Paul) and Lindsey Paul; two great-grandchildren: Wyatt Nichols and Grant Nichols; sister Nancy Van Metre; brothers-in-law Allan Martin and James Van Metre and their families; and son-in-law Karamjeet Paul. Bill was predeceased by sister Betsy Galvin and her husband Harry, and sister-in-law Sally Martin.

A memorial service will be held at a later date, when the COVID pandemic allows. Donations may be made in Bill’s memory to the Appalachian Mountain Club or the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation in Waltham, MA.

Services

No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.

Memories

William Hart Nichols Jr.

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Davis Robinson

August 5, 2020

Dear Jan, Bill, Judy, and Susie, Thanks for posting all the wonderful photos of your dad and family over the years. I loved running into Jan and Bill at Hannaford's over the years after we moved to Maine, and if Harriet and Dana were still with us I know they would have been pleased to see what a happy and full life he lived! Condolences to you all, and hope you are staying safe in these sad times. Much love to you all, Davis Robinson

Royce Taylor

August 4, 2020

To Sue and family, I am sorry to hear about the passing of your dad. After LSRH I went to Wentworth and my 1st job was at W. H. Nichols testing pumps. Though I did not know your dad, Nichols was a great place to work... small world..

Sue Hager

August 3, 2020

Thanks for sharing the beautiful memories of your mom and dad and their precious family. I loved working/playing with your mom and knowing your dad through her. Wish I could still be at OceanView for her, but alas COVID has changed all of our lives. May there be peace for you in knowing the wonderful care you all have given them.
With love in my heart for all of you,
Sue Hager, PRO Companion

John Sullivan

August 3, 2020

My first job out of college in 1973 was for the Nichols Company. Bill was president at the time. It was a great experience and working there and was very rewarding both personally and professionally.
I was working late one night early in my tenure and the clocks rang upstairs. Scared the heck out of me as I had never heard true grandfather and grandmother clocks ring when everything else was quiet. Hope the clocks stayed in the family.
The company was such a part of the City. Bill was a wonderful and kind man. may he rest in peace

Mary K Winslow

July 29, 2020

Jan, Bill, Judy and Susie,
Thank you for sharing all of these special memories in pictures. Every one is full of smiles and brings more smiles. To me that was the essence of Bill: always upbeat, always kind and thoughtful and full of the enjoyment of life. He meant so much to all of us.
Much love and virtual hugs to you and your families. Hope to be with you before too long.
MK

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

Bill 1930s

FROM THE FAMILY

Bill with his parents, early 1930s

FROM THE FAMILY

Bill and sister Betsy with their grandfather WH, early 1930s

FROM THE FAMILY

Four generations: Bill with his great grandfather William Henry Nichols, grandfather William Henry (WH) Nichols, Jr. and father William Hart Nichols, early 1930s

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

Bill 1930s

FROM THE FAMILY

Bill with his parents, early 1930s

FROM THE FAMILY

Bill and sister Betsy with their grandfather WH, early 1930s

FROM THE FAMILY

Four generations: Bill with his great grandfather William Henry Nichols, grandfather William Henry (WH) Nichols, Jr. and father William Hart Nichols, early 1930s

FROM THE FAMILY

Bill with Weston friends, 1948

FROM THE FAMILY

Bill as an ROTC cadet at Harvard

FROM THE FAMILY

1950

FROM THE FAMILY

Jan & Bill with Harvard friends, 1950

FROM THE FAMILY

Jan & Bill with Harvard friends, 1950

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