- About Us
Barbara Nichols Humphrey
January 18 ,1929
April 13, 2018
Gray-Barbara Elaine Nichols Humphrey was born in Anson, Maine. She was the eldest child of Erwin and Lillian Nichols. She had three younger siblings, a brother William now deceased, sister Sylvia of Otisfield, Maine, and a sister Diana now deceased. The Nichols family was poor, proud and industrious and they knew great challenges as William was severely ill. Much of the family’s resources were used seeking healing for the sick boy and consequently, Barbara often spent extended periods of time in Madison, Maine with her grandfather, aunts and uncles from whom Barbara learned a lifelong appreciation for music.
The family moved often to accommodate Erwin’s work as a dairyman at various farms throughout Maine. Eventually the family moved to Gray and Barbara entered High School. At Pennell Institute, she met and fell in love with George, a young man as bright, hardworking and ambitious as she. During Barbara’s senior year, her mother fell gravely ill and she needed to care for her baby sister. As a strong and conscientious student, Barbara dearly wanted to earn her high school degree. She was forever grateful to her principal who facilitated her on time graduation by arranging for her to pick up and drop off new and completed assignments with her baby sister in tow. At about the same time, her brother’s condition worsened and he died, leaving Barbara with a lifelong wound where her beloved brother had lived in her heart.
George and Barbara married and built a modest home and a farm by hand. They toiled nail by nail , board by board, raising their children along the way. First came their son James Blaine and then 3 years later, their daughter Brenda Lynn. Although they thought their family was complete, eight years later they were surprised with the arrival of their daughter Georgia Ann (born on her father’s birthday) and then eight years after that, a greater surprise – the jewel in the family crown, daughter Rebecca Lee. As the farm and the family grew, Barbara took on every role at the farm from the most mundane to the most creative. She particularly enjoyed creating logos and art work for advertisements, was the driving force in the creation of the very successful farm bakery , and ran both the egg room and the office at different times throughout the years. When she wasn’t working, she was active in the Eastern Star, serving as the past worthy matron and enjoying involvement in the Effengy Square-dance Club with George. She was also a lifelong active member of the First Congregational Church of Gray, Maine, filling the roles of church secretary, church treasurer, and was one of the first female deacons. As her health declined, and she was less able to actively participate, she knit hundreds of hats and mittens which she sold at the annual Winter Fair, with the proceeds donated to the Pastor’s Emergency Fund.
In the early 1980’s Barbara and George lost their farm. The reasons were complex and devastating and it took George a while to find a new direction for his life. In the meantime, Barbara worked as a secretary at Maine National Bank, worked as a creative teacher’s Aide at the Kindergarten Center in New Gloucester, worked at LL Bean, and as a jewelry assembler for Goose Pond. While she worked outside the home, George finished his first antique truck restoration, a Mack Bulldog 1922 AC truck. This launched their new career as a renowned truck restoration company. While doing this work, Barbara and George made friends with people all over the United States. Their trucking friendships were possibly the most joyful of their lives and Barbara impressed truck enthusiasts around the country as she drove a chain drive truck exceedingly well and was the first female judge for the Antique Truck Historical Society.
Barbara dearly loved her sister, Sylvia Caswell and her sister-in-law, Gene Humphrey. She was a devoted mother to her children, James Humphrey, Brenda Hartford and her husband Marty, Georgia Humphrey and her partner Kathy, and Rebecca Hanaburgh and her husband Mike. She was a loving grandmother to her grandchildren, James Humphrey Jr. and his wife Maggie, Kassie Hartford and her wife Katherine, Trevor Hartford, Caleb Humphrey, Cecilia Macmillan, Jacob Humphrey and his partner Kyrstin and Isabelle Hanaburgh. She was very proud of her great grandchildren, Jack Humphrey, Nick Humphrey, Maddie Humphrey and baby Feona Humphrey. She also cared deeply for her many nieces and nephews including Chris Caswell, Ed Caswell, Starr Oswald, Winona Graffam- Karns , Nichole Graffam-Everett and Billijolene Raymond. In the last few months of her life, she became exceptionally fond of her caretakers and friends, Carol and John West, Heidi Grant, and Michael Mills. Her former daughters-in-law, Merlyne Sawyer and Sue Humphrey continued to have a special place in her heart.
The visiting hours will take place at Wilson’s Funeral Home from 5:00 to 8:00 on Friday, April 20th. The Celebration of Life will begin at 11:00 A.M. Saturday April 21st at the First Congregational Church of Gray. Beginning at 10:00 AM, the family invites you to attend an optional musical gathering including some of Barbara’s favorite musical selections performed by friends and family. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations in Barbara’s memory to be made to the Gray Food Pantry. c/o First Congregational Church Parish House, P.O. Box 155, Gray, Maine 04039