Barrett C. Nichols ’25, the longest- living alumnus in Bowdoin history, died June 11, 2010, in Falmouth, Maine, at the age of 108.
Barrett C. Nichols ’25, the longest- living alumnus in Bowdoin history, died June 11, 2010, in Falmouth, Maine, at the age of 108. He attributed his longevity to playing golf five times a week, drinking a bourbon sour at lunch and a rum and tonic before dinner, smoking at least four cigars a day, “good genes and lots of fruit.” He worked nearly 40 years in the banking industry, then spent another four decades in retirement working on his golf game. Once he retired, he played 300 rounds of golf a year – even in the pouring rain – and hit six holes- in-one, the last one at the age of 90. He continued to play well past the age of 100. He was a member of the Portland Country Club longer than most of the members had been alive. The annual senior championship at Meadows Country Club in Sarasota, Fla., where he was also a member, is called the Barrett Nichols Senior Club Championship, and he and his son Barrett C. Nichols Jr. ’54 won the member/guest tournament there in 2001. He joined the Maine Seniors Golf Association in 1957 and won their championship in 1968 and 1970. The New England Senior Golfers’ Association named its annual net tournament the Barrett C. Nichols tournament in his honor, and he was inducted into the Maine Golf Hall of Fame in 2007. He also was an avid and profitable bridge player. He was born in Bath on December 14, 1901, and prepared for college at Morse High School, Philips Andover Academy and Hebron Academy. He was a member of Zeta Psi fraternity. He worked for the investment company Merrill Oldham, then worked trading government bonds in New York City. In 1933, he was installed by the FDIC as president of People’s National Bank of Barre, Vt. During his 16 years there, he became known for taking a personal interest in young entrepreneurs. He left Vermont in 1950 to head Maine Savings Bank, where he served as treasurer and chief executive officer until retiring in 1970. He also served 13 years as director of Maine Fidelity Life Insurance Co. and Portland Chamber of Commerce, and as president and treasurer of the Portland Club. In addition to his son, he is survived by a daughter, Susan “Sukey” Nichols Wagner; four grandchildren, including Thomas B. Nichols ’82; and 10 great-grandchildren. He was predeceased in 1975 by his wife of 45 years, Lovis Sawyer Nichols, and in 1998 by his second wife, Katharine Graves Philips Nichols, to whom he was married for 22 years.