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His Life

William L. Nickerson

April 7, 2012

William Leonard Nickerson passed peacefully on April 7, 2012. Bill was born in Bangor, Maine on February 10, 1927, the fourth child of Ora James and Lillian Bryant Nickerson. Two years later his mother died after giving birth to his younger brother. Bill was raised by his father and grandmother until his teen years when his father died in a mill accident. He then went to live with two of his former school teachers, Alice and Edee Gammon.

Bill graduated from Old Town High School in 1945 and joined the U.S. Army. He was discharged in 1946 after WWII’s end. He studied for one year at Aroostook State Normal School in Maine, transferring to Ithaca College. He graduated in 1952 with a B.S. in Music Education. Bill taught for two years in Moravia Central School before accepting a job as vocal music teacher at Washington Irving Junior High in Schenectady, New York.

In the summer of 1955 Bill represented Schenectady as Community Ambassador to Heerlen, Holland. He sang with the Schenectady Light Opera Company and directed the choir at Pilgrim Congregational Church. In 1960 he got his Masters from Albany State. That same year he married Janet McClasky. In 1962 they went to Harar, Ethiopia with the Peace Corps.

Upon the Nickersons’ return to the States they moved to Centerport, Long Island where Bill taught vocal music for 26 years at Toaz Junior High School, and Flower Hill Elementary School. Bill performed in and directed musicals with the Township Theater Group, sang in the Huntington Men’s Chorus and directed the Huntington Congregational Church Senior Choir.

Bill’s great love was sailing, and he spent many happy hours aboard his Pearson 30 on Long Island Sound. In 1999 the Nickersons retired to their farmhouse in Wevertown where Bill founded the Millennium Chorale, was an active member of the Outreach Center, Rotary Club, American Legion and the North Creek Railroad Museum. He also enjoyed attending services at the North Creek United Methodist Church.

He was predeceased by his sister Annie Flannigan, and his three brothers, Ora, Hildreth and Arnold Nickerson.

He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Janet and children James Nickerson (Julia), Amy Close (Jack) and Kate Purdie (Ivan), as well as LeeWhay Pasek. He will be missed by his beloved grandchildren, Will, Mimi and Wes Nickerson and Lucas Purdie.

A memorial service will be held at 10am on May 19th at St. James Parish in North Creek, New York, followed by a private burial in Old Town, Maine.

Donations in Bill’s memory may be made to Hudson Headwaters Health Network or to High Peaks Hospice and Palliative Care.