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Captain George's Story

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Gloucester - Captain George B. Nichols, Master Mariner, 97, died Tuesday, December 26, 2017, at Kaplan House in Danvers, surrounded by his loving family. He was the husband of the late Dorothy E. (Burke) Nichols with whom he shared 57 years of marriage.
Born in Gloucester on October 12, 1920, he was the son of the late Morton R. and Ethel S. (Bennett) Nichols. A lifelong resident of Gloucester and a graduate of Gloucester High School, he joined the United States Coast Guard on active duty in November, 1941 and was discharged in October, 1945. He served as Boatswain's Mate 1st Class on the USCGC Campbell and as Chief Boatswain's Mate on the USS Rockford. Following his service in World War II, he graduated from the Maritime Institute of Graduate Studies and Technology with his Master Mariner's license. He sailed tankers and supertankers with Trinidad Corporation, Boston Fuel Transportation and Ogden Marine. He was licensed to sail any ship of any size on any body of water in the world. Among his many accomplishments, he captained the third supertanker off the Alaskan pipeline in the late 1970's and piloted the Norwegian windjammer Christian Radich into Boston Harbor during the first visit of the Tall Ships in 1976.
The highlight of his illustrious career occurred in 1983, when on a routine transatlantic voyage from Malaga, Spain to Port Arthur, Texas, with a fully loaded 814' oil tanker in heavy seas and high winds, he spotted and rescued 9 Spanish fisherman floating in a lifeboat off the coast of Tunisia. In recognition of his heroism, he was awarded the Mariner's Medal from the City of Gloucester and the Admiral of the Ocean Sea Award from the State of New York.
He was a lifetime member of the Boston Marine Society and the American Legion, a 55 year member of the Tyrian Lodge AF&AM; a member of DAV Gloucester Chapter #74 and Bass Rocks Golf Club. He also served on the City of Gloucester Mariner's Medal Committee.
He is survived by his four children, Roy A. Sutherland, husband of Catherine of Red Bank, New Jersey, Eugene H. Sutherland Sr., husband of Carol of Magnolia, Robin J. Perry, wife of Richard, of Gloucester, and Judith A. Nelson, wife of Christopher of Rockport, his former daughter-in-law, Mary Lou Vogel, six grandchildren, Susan S. Beard, Roy W. Sutherland II, Eugene H. Sutherland, Jr., Jonathan M. Perry, Courtney L. Nelson and Kyle A. Nelson, five great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.
Graveside services will be held at a later date. Expressions of sympathy may be made in his memory to the American Heart Association, P.O. Box 3049, Syracuse, NY 13220-3049
Published on December 28, 2017
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