It is with great pride that we celebrate the life of Louis (Lou) Nicholson of Rainy River, Ont.
Lou passed away on Monday, Feb. 26, 2018 at the long-term care centre in Rainy River after a long battle with Alzheimer's.
Lou was born on May 7, 1941 in Renous, N.B. to Ambrose and Janie (Buggie) Nicholson. Arriving as the sixth of 12 children, Lou was one of the more mischievous of the pack, raised in the midst of a raucous and loving family.
Lou particularly was doted on by his big sister, Betty, and later her husband, Howard. They introduced him to music, a passion he carried with him to Rainy River.
Countless hours were spent over the subsequent years with friends and family around campfires, fireplaces, and kitchen tables singing and playing guitars-his deep baritone voice ringing clear.
Lou was raised in Barnaby River, N.B. and returned to teach in Semiwagan Ridge after attending the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. After teaching for a number of years, Lou sought the next challenge and began his career as a pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force.
In 1967, when Lou was stationed in Gimli, Man., he made the decision to retire from the RCAF. As an avid outdoorsman, Lou pulled out a map and quickly identified all the best hunting and fishing locations in the region, then chose Rainy River.
Not long after moving to Rainy River, Lou met and married Patricia Armstrong, with whom he raised two children, Sean and Shana.
Lou was an extremely dedicated and loving father, and in 1993 with the birth of his first grandchild, Shaila, he became the “Best Papa” a grandchild could ever hope to have.
Lou was a natural-born leader, and after becoming principal of Riverview Elementary School in 1977, he later accepted the dual role of principal of Rainy River High School, which he held until his retirement in 1995.
Lou also eagerly took on the assignment and responsibility of principal of the Big Grassy School during its inaugural years.
Over the years, Lou was a committed and dedicated citizen, frequently volunteering in the community. He served with the Kinsmen, the Lions Club, as mayor of Rainy River, president of the Royal Canadian Legion (Br. #54), member of the Board of Family and Children's Services, and for decades taught the Firearms Safety Course in Rainy River.
It recently was said that Lou did not just raise his children, he raised a community. From 1967 to his retirement in 1995, Lou influenced and educated thousands of children, in many cases multiple generations. His integrity, kindness, and compassion were evident in his work and his investment in the community.
Lou's legacy will live on, not only in all of the tomato gardens across the district, but in all of the people he touched through the selfless guidance and support he provided throughout his lifetime.
Lou is survived by his son, Sean (Brandy) and their children, Shaila, Kylar, and Kade (Wisconsin), and his daughter, Shana (Greg) and their children, Jake, Isaac, and Sydney (Newfoundland).
Lou also is survived by his sisters, Marie, Betty, Louise, Beatrice, and Theresa, and his brother, John Nicholson; as well as, dozens of nieces and nephews.
Lou was predeceased by his parents; wife, Patsy; brothers, Louis (for whom Lou was a namesake) and Leo; and sisters, Edie and Lucy Lou's younger brother, Murdock, tragically passed the same week as Lou-also a victim of Alzheimer's.
Lou is leaving to mourn a large circle of in-laws in Rainy River, Winnipeg, and Edmonton who welcomed him into the family in 1969 and remained loving and supportive to the very end. When his brother-in-law, Ralph, whispered in Lou's ear that brother-in-law, Johnny, might drive from Edmonton the night before Lou's passing, it seemed like Lou might try to stay for just “one more.”
Although he built a vibrant and full life in Rainy River, the Miramichi always was home to Lou, and he will be laid to rest there with his parents.
There will be a celebration of life for Lou and interment in the Miramichi in June.
Online condolences may be offered at www.northridgefuneralhome.com