WHITING - Nancy L. Nielsen, 85, died Monday, May 23, 2016, at home. She was born August 28, 1930, in Indianapolis, IN, to Miriam Fitzpatrick and Theodore Fredriks. Her childhood was spent in Indianapolis and in Elsmere, NY. She attended Syracuse University as a New York State Regent Scholar. In 1951, she married Reinald Nielsen, with whom she raised two children. After her marriage, she lived in Windsor, NY and several other places before settling in Carlisle, MA in 1960. In Massachusetts Nancy worked as a school librarian, environmental educator, wildlife rehabilitator, and naturalist, and as Operations Manager for DeCordova Museum.
Nancy began summering in Maine in the mid-1960s and in 1980 moved full-time to her beloved Stone Man Farm on Straight Bay in Lubec. It was there that her talents as a poet and her commitment to conservation and community flowered. Her poems have been published in the Beloit Poetry Journal and other magazines, with collections published by Slow Dancer Press in England and by Stone Man Press, which she co-founded with her partner and fellow poet, Alan Brooks.In 2011 she and Alan started a blog for their poems, Salt and Stone Poetry, which Alan will continue after her death.
Nancy and Alan started the Straight Bay Association in 1981 to fight development projects harmful to the Cobscook Bay ecosystem. She also served as President of Audubon Expedition Institute. In 1987, she co-founded Quoddy Regional Land Trust (now Downeast Coastal Conservancy), serving for many years as board member and volunteer staffer. She donated QRLT's first conservation easement, on Stone Man Farm. More recently, Nancy and Reinald gave an easement on their land in Whiting, and also gave the remainder interest in Stone Man Farm to DCC while retaining life estates for themselves and Alan.
Nancy became well known in Maine land trust circles for her vision, commitment and conservation values. At the end of her life, she found joy in knowing that she had done so much to help conserve so many of Downeast Maine's most special places forever. Nancy lived and acted with the awareness, as expressed in her poem, "Spring Tide," that "it is no small thing to live in a holy place."
Nancy was an avid and knowledgeable botanist, gardener and landscaper who made every place she lived more beautiful. She was especially attuned to the use of native flowers, trees, and shrubs for their interest in every season and for their wildlife value. She shared her knowledge freely and took pleasure in the gardens of others. She also delighted in her house plants, which surrounded her in her final home.
Nancy was predeceased by her parents, by her brother, Theodore (Ted), and by a child lost before birth. As well as her husband, Reinald, she leaves behind a sister and brother-in-law, Judy and Montcalm Strever, of Rexford, NY, and their children, Cynthia and Starr, and families; her very special daughter, Christine (Chris) Nielsen, and son-in-law, George White, of Head of St. Margaret's Bay, Nova Scotia; a son, Dreas, and daughter-in-law, Jamie, of Issaquah, WA and their children Caitlin and Hannah; and her dear friend and life partner, Alan Brooks, of Lubec.
The family would like to thank Laurie, Sam, Carol and other current and former staff of Sunrise County Homecare Services for their help and kindness during her final years.
Nancy made the world a better place. Her life and spirit will be celebrated at a memorial service to be announced later. Memorial donations may be made to Downeast Coastal Conservancy, PO Box 760, Machias, ME 04654. Memories and condolences may be offered at www.directcremationofmaine.com.