Family, friends remember Rockland high school graduateSouth Thomaston native dies from flesh-eating bacteria
Bangor — A memorial service to remember the life of Heather Woodward Nichols was standing room only Aug. 13, packed with friends and family shocked by her sudden and unexpected death.
Nichols, 29, died in Bangor Aug. 8 after contracting a flesh-eating bacteria, according to her father, Kent Woodward of South Thomaston. The infection was discovered after she gave birth to her child, Ruby Ann Nichols.
Nichols, known locally as Heather Woodward, grew up in South Thomaston, attended Owls Head Central School and graduated from Rockland District High School in 2002.
She was a cheerleader for both football and basketball at Rockland and was very active in school, her father recalled. She worked behind the scenes making costumes for school plays.
She studied early childhood education at Southern Maine Community College, and married Matt Nichols in 2011.
Her father and mother, Kent and Rose Woodward, own Coastal Hobbies on Route 1 in Rockport.
Her death came at a time when the family was anticipating with joy her first child. Nichols went to Eastern Maine Medical Center Aug. 1 to have her baby and a doctor performed an episiotomy, according to her father. This is a common procedure to aid in the birth that involves a surgical incision.
After the birth, she complained of pain and was told it was due to the hard child birth, Woodward said.
She went home, but after suffering severe pain, returned to the hospital where they discovered the infection. Surgeries and medication failed to save her life.
Woodward said he has questions about how her case was handled and indicated the family will have that investigated.
Now the family is struggling to deal with her loss. Woodward said her husband, Matt, is devastated.
"I can't imagine what he would do if he didn't have the support of friends and family," he said.
The family has received an outpouring of support.
In the midst of the sadness, Woodward has found joy in his new grandchild. Ruby Ann is doing fine and looks like her mother, he said.
"She has big beautiful eyes, just like her mother's," he said.
Those who would like to help support Ruby Ann and Matt Nichols can visit gofundme.com/3vp788.
Courier-Gazette Editor Daniel Dunkle can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 122 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
207 594-4401 ext. 122
Daniel Dunkle is editor of The Courier-Gazette and news director for Courier Publications. He lives in Rockland with his wife, Christine, who also works for Courier Publications, and two children.
Dunkle has previously served as editor of The Republican Journal in Belfast. He has worked as a reporter and photographer in the Midcoast for 15 years.
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