Alan Charles Nicola, 66, of Delanco, died Sunday February 11, 2018, after a year-long struggle with multiple health problems.
”Big Al” was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting and being outside. His hunting exploits ranged from Canada to NY State to the Jersey Pines. Numerous trophy animals fill his “man-cave”, and include his first deer, a bear rug in front of the fireplace, and a pheasant. A caribou taken in Canada never found a place there due to its enormous size and the protest of his wife who suggested he find a second wife as she would never sleep under its watchful gaze if he mounted on the wall over their bed. He often lugged 50 lb. bags of corn onto the property behind his house so he and his family could watch the deer who came to feed.
Alan was a self-employed builder for 40 years who never advertised but got referrals from satisfied customers. He was a perfectionist who expected others to work to his high standards and let them know if they didn’t. He built his own home, and numerous other residential houses from the ground up. He liked big projects and especially framing. Alan was especially mechanically inclined. His first job at 15 was to take lawnmowers apart, fix them, and put them back together. He could never understand why others could not do the things he did so effortlessly.
Alan had a keen sense of playfulness and when Emily was growing up he would hook up the neighborhood kids sleds to his quad and drag them around in the snow. He loved taking her friends out on his boat to go tubing often speeding up to send them flying around in a big arc behind him. Alan knew every farmer in the county and unbeknownst to his wife taught Emily to drive on their farm fields as soon as she could reach the pedals of the family minivan.
Alan is survived by his wife of 35 years, Patrice Hinkley Nicola, of Delanco, his beloved daughter Emily of Riverside, and his brother James of Sommers Point, NJ. He is preceded in death by his first child, his angel, Catie, and his parents Alberta and Russell Nicola.
Come celebrate 66 great years Wednesday 6-8 p.m. and Thursday 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. at Sweeney Funeral Home, Riverside. His service will be 11 a.m. at Zion Lutheran Church, Riverside. In lieu of flowers donations to Githens Center (githenscenter.org) or Duck Unlimited (ducks.org) will be appreciated.