John Lewis Nichols

May 3, 1921December 3, 2018

John Lewis Nichols, a member of the Greatest Generation and a Hellcat pilot during WWII, slipped the surly bonds on December 3, 2018, in the house that he and his father built, in his home town of Freeport, Maine.

John lived in Freeport for all of his 97 years, with the exception of his service during the war, and raised 9 children there with the love of his life, Shirley O'Mara. He was born with a leading man's grin, and kept it all of his life. He had a huge, clever spirit, unshakeable character and a belief in duty and service, fighting for his country with the U.S. Navy and later serving his home town as Assessor and then Selectman.

John was a talented musician who could play any instrument that didn't have strings. He especially loved the piano, and a highlight of his life was playing America The Beautiful on the famous Eagle Piano at the White House, per request of his comrades during a Squadron tour.

He was an avid outdoorsman, a Golden Gloves boxer and a voracious reader with a genuinely Churchillian wit. Once, during his Selectman days, when confronted at town meeting by a wag in the audience as to how he happened to have such an unusually large family, he raised an sardonic eyebrow at the (unfortunately childless) critic and said, "I don't know, it always seemed to me that the really vital people never have any trouble reproducing."

John was a happy and very capable rabble-rouser who enjoyed fighting for what he believed to be right. He wasn't a religious man, but had his own idea of the sacred. He liked to call himself a Forest Baptist, saying that the Maine woods was where he felt most spiritual. His favorite spot on earth was the Whetstone Falls stretch of the East Branch of the Penobscot River.

John L. Nichols will be sorely missed in this world, most of all by his family. He was predeceased by his beloved wife Shirley and his sister, Dorothy. He leaves behind his sister Virginia; his daughter Jeanie Makovec and husband Piero and their sons Alek and Ivan, along with Alek's wife Julia, daughter Mila and son Azlan; his daughter Gerry Nichols and husband Wesley Dolezal; his son Jim, wife Anne and sons Aaron and Andrew; his son John; his daughter Julia and husband Matt Bittner; his daughter Joyce; his son Joe, wife Tobi and sons Alex and Sam; his son Paul, wife Jane and son Adam; and his son Howard.

At his request there will be no funeral, but a graveside service will be held in the spring. You may offer your condolences or share your memories at


John Lewis Nichols

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John Andrews

December 10, 2018

Please accept my condolences on the passing of your Dad. He was an extraordinary guy and I felt honored to have known him and to have listened to his wisdom and his stories.

Greta and Lyle Brandt

December 7, 2018

He was truly one of a kind. Our deepest sympathy to the family. He will be missed by all that had the good fortune of spending time with him.