Spruce Head — Nicholas Snow, artist and art historian, died peacefully at home on Oct. 3.
He was born in Middletown, Conn., June 29, 1926, the third son of Wesleyan professor and Spruce Head poet Wilbert Snow and Jeannette Simmons Snow. Every summer of his life saw him back at Spruce Head Island, except for his service in the Pacific in World War II. He was educated at Wesleyan University and Harvard, but considered his Navy years as important as his degrees in English and history of art. He married bio-chemist June Wishner in 1950, studied art in Florence, Italy for a year, living there with his wife and their baby son David, taught at Wesleyan before pursuing an advanced degree in the Fogg Museum’s PhD program at Harvard, and became a museum curator and then art history professor in Detroit. He and his wife June raised four sons in Detroit, while he painted and worked as assistant director to help the Society of Arts and Crafts become the fully-accredited Institute of Creative Studies.
In 1977, he returned to Spruce Head to build a house with the help of sons Benjamin and Mark. He also built a peapod and began lobstering, hauling by hand, from 1980 through 1991, when major surgery ended his years in the fishery. In 1983, he married Catharine S. Baker, and they raised a daughter, Caitlin, while Nick painted full-time and began selling in California and Massachusetts as well as Maine and Michigan. His acrylic rockscapes and haunting portraits hang all over the world, and may be seen in many Midcoast homes and businesses.
Nick was an intense, erudite man of many passions, who loved singing, modern dance, opera, theological argument, and science, especially geology, astronomy, and archaeology. He made a large, well-organized collection of local Indian artifacts from the beaches of Spruce Head, and his finds are catalogued at the Maine State Museum. He became an active member of First Universalist Church and directed its building expansion in 1986; he ran regular book sales and plant sales there to bring the community in the doors, and loved church talent shows and its choir. He was a solid Democrat and served as town chair for the party in South Thomaston. He had a lively interest in world affairs, hosting a number of foreign students whom he loved, and who expanded his horizons further. He walked every day, waving his hand-carved hawthorne stick to passers-by, as he made his way with a series of beloved dogs from the humane society. His family, his many friends, Kno-Wal-Lin Hospice, South Thomaston Ambulance Service, and his church (and its choir) all combined efforts to make his last days as serene and buoying as possible.
He was predeceased by his younger brother Stephen Hopkins Snow in 1944, his parents in 1977 and 1980, his son David Jonathan in 2008, his son Benjamin in February 2012, and his oldest brother Charles Wilbert Jr. in September 2012. He is survived by his wife, Catharine S. Baker of Spruce Head, his son Mark Joseph, son Jacob Adam and wife Martha Collins Snow of South Thomaston, and daughter Caitlin Snow Clark and husband Samuel Len Clark of Spruce Head. He has four granddaughters, Bethany Rose Snow, Karina Brooke and Erin Nichole Snow, and Natalie Rae Clark; and two grandsons, Abram Marcus Snow and Cyrus Snow Clark. He is also survived by brothers John Forrest Snow and wife Lyn, and Gregory Elisha Snow, all of South Thomaston, and many nephews, nieces, and their children and grandchildren.
Visiting hours will be at Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock St., Rockland, on Friday, Oct. 19 from 5 to 7 p.m. There will be a memorial service for him at First Universalist Church, 345 Broadway, Rockland, on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 1 p.m. with Rev. Mark Glovin officiating.
Memorial donations in lieu of flowers may be made to First Universalist Church, 345 Broadway, Rockland, ME 04841; Humane Society of Knox County, PO Box 1294, Rockland, ME 04841; South Thomaston Ambulance Service, PO Box 147, South Thomaston, ME 04841, or a charity of one’s choice.
To share a memory or condolence with Nick’s family, please visit his online Book of Memories at bchfh.com.