On Feb. 7, 2021, John Nichols Jr. and Rachel Delores (Farrell) Nichols both passed away peacefully in their home, where Rachel was also born. After 74 years of marriage, they passed within 15 minutes of each other, with their son Butch, granddaughter June and family friends by their side.
They were both born in Maine in 1922, Rachel on Jan. 12 in Ellsworth and John on Nov. 12 in Harrington. They were of the Greatest Generation.
John went to two years of high school in Harrington before he shipped out as a Merchant Marine. He consigned on iron ore freighters in the Great Lakes before he journeyed on ships traveling back and forth to Europe across the Atlantic Ocean transporting wartime supplies. His father encouraged him to stop shipping because merchant ships were wartime targets, so he decided to join the U.S. Army in December of 1943. He was sent to the Asiatic-Pacific Theatre. He was a buck sergeant, serving in the 24th Infantry Division, where he was squad leader in charge of 28 men operating 30-caliber Browning machine guns. He was awarded a Campaign Ribbon with Bronze Service Arrowhead, a Philippines Liberation Ribbon with Bronze Service Star, a Good Conduct Medal, a Victory Medal, a Combat Infantryman Badge, an American Campaign Ribbon and two Purple Hearts during his service. John eventually received a Red Cross early discharge in 1946 because his father was dying.
Rachel went to Ellsworth High School and soon after left to go to NYC doing civilian work in the war effort.
Upon returning to Maine, John and Rachel met and they were married Oct. 30, 1946, in Brewer at Rachel’s sister’s home.
While they always maintained a home in Maine, John worked for Ocean Properties/Tom Walsh for 20 years and they traveled to Durango, Colo., Alamogordo, N.M., and Del Ray Beach, Fla., for hotel restoration projects and during these work trips they enjoyed many adventures! They also relished their travel adventures to Alaska, Hawaii and Mesa Verde, Colo. John was a member of the Bangor Carpenters Union 125 and was also a member of the local Masons’ Lygonia Lodge.
Rachel worked at Willey’s in the Women’s Department when it was on Main Street in Ellsworth and later at Allen’s Blueberry Factory during blueberry harvest and wreath-making seasons.
They loved to get away to their camp in Clifton and really enjoyed fishing together. They took delight in their Sunday drives together to visit family and friends and often stopped to enjoy a picnic lunch. Other interests included gardening, canning their harvest but mostly dearly raising their children, which often included large family dinners where all were welcome!
They are survived by their children, son Peter Farrell and his wife, Kathy, daughter Sundae Robbins and husband, Ernest, son John “Butch” Nichols III, son Vaughn (Tiger) Nichols and grandchildren Harvey Nichols, June Pratt, Matthew Nichols, great-grandchildren Jocelyn Carter, Michael Carter and great-great-grandson Lucean Carter.
Rachel was predeceased by her brothers Lawrence, John, Paul, Elbert, Donald, Edward, James and sisters Beatrice, Juanita, Leah and Marjorie, while John was predeceased by his brothers Preston, Gordon, Lawrence and sister Elleanor.
They were also predeceased by grandson Richard Littlefield, granddaughter Christina Nichols and great-great-grandson Jack Carter.
A private ceremony is to be held at a later date.
Arrangements by Jordan-Fernald, 113 Franklin St. Ellsworth.
Condolences may be expressed at www.jordanfernald.com