Esther Kabel Nichols | The Newtown Bee

Published: Oct 29, 2021 10:00 AM

February 22, 1943 to October 12, 2021

On Tuesday evening, October 12th, Esther Cable Nichols rejoiced to heaven. She was 78 years old and eight years past the six month life expectancy that accompanied her diagnosis of cancer. She fought hard all along. She could spend quality time with her family, enjoy more of the people and activities she loved, and check off her desire to visit all 50 states on her “bucket list”.

Ester (she never liked that annoying “h” in her name) was an ordinary woman with extraordinary determination, intuition and the ability to love. A graduate of Milford High School, Connecticut, she worked as a cashier for People’s Bank for more than a decade, building a life and family with her husband, Clifford E. Nichols Jr., to whom she was married for 60 years. They were the C&E Appliance Service in Newtown, a family business run from home. Frustrated with the limited educational opportunities available to her in her teens, she fulfilled her lifelong dream of seeing her two children through college and graduate school. She worked night decorating cakes at a bakery and edited contest entries for Promotion Mechanics, Inc. in Newtown. She was a doula, looked after dozens of families, and worked as a receptionist at the Homestead in Newtown and the Hearth in Southbury. She enjoyed her hard work helping people. Throughout her life, she encouraged her children to get as high as possible while remaining true to herself and her ideals. And she did that by example rather than by mandate or mere expectation.

When she was finally “retired,” she devoted her energies to her favorite pastimes: hiking, kayaking, biking, camping and her grandchildren. She cycled both the entire Erie Canal and the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) Trail. She bought a mobile home and toured the country. She and her mother Hazel Cable took a train to California to see the Rose Bowl. At the time she was diagnosed with cancer, she had only five states left that required an epic six-week road trip to Arkansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Wisconsin, followed by a family trip to Hawaii. And during those years she helped raise all three of her surviving grandchildren: Katie, Mandela, and Isaiah Nichols.

Ester was an active member of Eastern Star, TOPS, and the Newtown Hiking Club, a Boy Scout mother and lifelong Girl Scout and leader of many girls. She was a member of Connecticut’s Newtown Congregational Church for more than 50 years, teaching Sunday School to generations of young people. She also attended the Weirsdale Presbyterian Church in Weirsdale, Florida, where she enjoyed cooking and serving for the Tuesday time-out lunch service. Perhaps her greatest gift was building and maintaining deep friendships from every phase of her life. She still met regularly with a group of friends from elementary school!

The past few years have been challenging, and Ester’s faith has brought comfort and hope. She longed for heaven and to see her mother again, who missed her every day, and the many friends and family members who no doubt waited to welcome her after they had already set up the card table for a little angelic pinochle, bridge, or Scrabble.

She leaves behind her two children, Clifford E. Nichols III of Newtown and Jennifer Nichols of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; three grandchildren; three brothers, Larry, Cliff, and Albert; and many nieces and nephews.

She is reunited in heaven with her parents Clarence and Hazel Cable, brother Jim, sister Jane, and the dear friends she lost and deeply missed along the way.

There will be a memorial service and celebration of her life at Newtown Congregational Church on Saturday, November 13th at 11am.

Instead of flowers, memorial gifts may be made in her honor to Newtown Congregational Church, 14 West Street, Newtown CT 06470.

Thank you to the many who have supported and encouraged you over the past eight years. It is where it longed.

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