Pittsfield funeral home marks 5th anniversary under Nichols’ family
By Mike Lange
PITTSFIELD – When Glenn and Rachel Nichols took the Shorey-Nichols Funeral Home back to its roots as a locally-owned business five years ago, the response was universally positive. “Since then, we’ve done a lot of renovations – a little at a time – to minimize any disruption in services,” Glenn Nichols said.
The investment in time and money has been well worth it, Rachel Nichols said. “People in the community have been so supportive. People treat us like we’ve been here all our lives. We’re looking forward to a bright future,” she added.
Although Shorey-Nichols Funeral Home has been in its present location since 1961, the firm has a strong history in the community. The late Donald H. Shorey opened his funeral parlor in the 1940s where the First Congregational Church of Pittsfield is now located. “Donald was a very generous man,” Glenn Nichols said, “and he turned the property over to the church for a token fee.”
When the funeral home opened at the new location, 500 people attended the open house, according to newspaper accounts. “That would be unheard of today,” Mrs. Nichols noted.
At one time, Shorey also ran an ambulance service which was a common practice back then, Glenn Nichols said. “Some families preferred that an ambulance respond to a death instead of a hearse,” he explained.
For a time, the home was owned by Service Corporation International while being managed by the Nichols family on two occasions. But Glenn Nichols acknowledged that it wasn’t a good fit. After years of being in public service as an emergency medical technician and associate minister at Glad Tidings Church in Bangor, he didn’t exactly embrace what he called the “business-like approach to funerals.”
But when the corporation asked them to return, they agreed – and eventually bought the business. “We couldn’t be happier with the decision,” Rachel Nichols said.
She is now studying to be a licensed funeral director and is about halfway through her studies toward an associates’ degree in mortuary science at McAllister Institute in New York City.
Their daughter, Mikaela, 14, is also taking an active role in the business. “She helps as a greeter, visitations and just about anything we ask. She is also wonderful around children,” said Mrs. Nichols.
The Nichols family has also conducted tours at the funeral home for students at Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield and works closely with the Hospice Volunteers in Skowhegan, Waterville and Bangor.
Building on a 50 year-plus legacy, the Nichols family said they feel warmly appreciated by the community, knowing that dealing with a sensitive subject like death isn’t easy. “But when you make a house call, and you’re hugged by the family when you walk through the front door – well, that’s a feeling that’s hard to describe,” said Glenn Nichols.
(Reprinted with permission from Maine Today Media)