Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Nicola "Nikki" Terry


Nicola "Nikki" Terry, 71, peacefully died June 5, 2017, at her home in Belfast. Nikki was born to Wellington and Mabel Greaves in Cromwell, Connecticut,  in 1946. After attending school in Boston she returned home to Connecticut and started employment at Connecticut Light and Power (later Northeast Utilities). Before being retired by disability after a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, she was secretary to the executive vice president.

Nikki met her future husband Don while vacationing with her family at a cottage on Lake Champlain in northern Vermont. Don was overseeing the property and cottages as a high school and college summer job. She was 12, he was 17. She knew she would marry him, he was clueless. Eight hopeful, persistent years later, she and Don married, and in December 2016 they celebrated 50 memorable years together.

When Nikki was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 35 years ago, she carried on as circumstances permitted, never complaining and, as her brother-in-law noted, she was always able to find a silver lining in every cloud.

She had taken up flying sailplanes, soloing in 1975, followed by powered aircraft, in this case a Piper J-3, better known as a Piper Cub. She ultimately built her own small single seater. Wood-framed and fabric-covered, it flew at a leisurely 55 mph on all of 28 horsepower.

In the late 1980s Nikki and Don bought their dream property on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia on the Bras D'Or Lake. They summered there for more than 15 years, swimming, sailing, maintaining and improving the property, then going south for the winter — to Maine.

As her M.S. began to limit her physically, she was still able to work in and enjoy the beautiful backyard flower gardens she designed and built, with Don providing the "grunt" labor. When the weather brought her indoors, she taught herself to play the Celtic harp and the hammered dulcimer. Having taken art lessons for many years, she was also able to devote more time to her paintings, working in oil and, later, water-color mediums.

Her friends knew her as a lover of flying and folk music, sailing and painting, gardening and public radio (they never had a TV). She adored her Maine coon cats Samantha and Sasha, and most especially her husband and best friend Don, who survives her. She is also survived by her brother James Greaves of Santa Monica, Calif.; her brother-in-law John Terry and his wife Michelle of Lincolnville, and their children, her nieces, Amy Keister, Jennifer Summers and Bethany Turrentine.

Nikki was beautiful, determined and brave. She will be missed very much.

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