Merle's Story

DADE CITY, FL AND MAPLETON - Merle R. Nickerson, 80, of Dade City, Florida and Mapleton, Maine passed away on December 7, 2015 after a courageous battle with lung disease. He was born in Presque Isle, Maine on December 19, 1934, the son of Elwood and M. Evelyn (Turner) Nickerson.

Merle grew up in Crouseville, attended Washburn schools, and served in the National Guard. On November 11, 1954, Merle married his high school sweetheart, Lois (Umphrey) Nickerson. Together they raised four children, Roxie, Lynn, Brent, and Kelly. They initially settled in Crouseville and eventually established the family homestead in Mapleton in 1969. A special place was their camp on Portage Lake where many memories were made. In 1990, Merle and Lois relocated both their residence and business to Dade City, Florida although Aroostook County was always home.

Merle was often a man of few words, though his work ethic, commitment to friends and family, and diverse interests spoke volumes. Merle and Lois owned and operated M.R. Nickerson, Inc. in Maine and Florida for over 55 years specializing in residential and small commercial construction. One of Merle's proudest accomplishments was obtaining the State of Florida Class A Construction License. After retiring in 1999, you could find Merle in his workshop creating woodworking projects surrounded by his many special friends. His last major project was the restoration of a 1928 Ford Model A Woody. This proved to be challenging as he rebuilt the entire vehicle from the basic frame crafting many of the parts by hand. Merle had a passion for flight and enjoyed flying his Aeronca Champion 85 airplane. He loved animals and had many special pets over the years. Merle and Lois were always interested in new places and visited most of the fifty states. They also appreciated greatly their "snowbird friends" and hosted many gatherings at their home.

Merle is survived by his wife of 61 years, Lois (Umphrey) Nickerson and is the proud father of four children: Roxie and Chad Putnam of Mapleton, Lynn Nickerson of Orrington, Brent and Susan Nickerson of Castle Hill, and Kelly and Matt McHatten of Mapleton, nine grandchildren: Chris and Philip Putnam, Dayna Carpenter, Andrew and Carter Boyles, Chelsie and Joshua Nickerson, and Shaye and Paige McHatten and three great-grandchildren: London, Camdyn, and Colt Putnam, two brothers: Dana Nickerson of Presque Isle and Jerry Nickerson of Caribou, many treasured cousins, nieces, nephews and a very special little girl Emma.

Merle was predeceased by his parents, his sister Christine King, brother Dean Nickerson, and sister-in-laws Hilma Nickerson, Marilyn Nickerson and Patricia Nickerson, and a nephew Scott and a niece Darcey Nickerson.

A celebration of Merle's life was held at Whitfield Funeral Home, Zephyrhills, Florida on Friday, December 11, 2015 and a celebration of life will be held in Mapleton next summer. In lieu of flowers, donations in Merle's memory can be made to the Salmon Brook Historical Society, PO Box 71, Washburn, Maine 04786.
Published in Bangor Daily News
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