Industry mourns Cape Cod boatyard president

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Rupert L. “Ren” Nichols Jr., president of Allen Harbor Marine Service in Harwich Port, Mass., since 1990, died March 28 after a long illness. He was 66.

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An active and engaged member of the Cape Cod boating and marine community, Nichols was a 48-year member of the United States Power Squadrons, where he rose to the rank of rear commander, his obituary said. He was a longtime member of the Massachusetts Marine Trades Association, serving continuously on its board since the 1980s and as president of the association from 2000-2002.

The Nichols family was recently honored as one of the founding families of the association in conjunction with the group’s 50th anniversary.

Nichols served on the board of the Cape Cod Marine Trades Association for several decades and was president of the association while playing a key role in organizing boat shows and other activities throughout the years. In his youth he was a charter member of the Allen Harbor Junior Yacht Club.

Nichols’ early career was in broadcasting, which had been his interest and hobby since childhood, when he set up an amateur ham radio station in the home basement. He spent many years working as an announcer at WCOD radio on Cape Cod and other area stations, including WOCB and WVLC, and developed a professional speaking style that served him well in later work as a successful fundraiser for the Holderness School and the March of Dimes. Supporting the fight against birth defects, he arranged and hosted Cape Cod’s first March of Dimes telethon.

In addition to his career in radio, Nichols was involved in the early days of planning and development of cable television, working at Cape Cod Cablevision for a number of years and participating in the Cable Advisory Committee in Yarmouth, having been a longtime resident of Yarmouth Port.

Nichols pursued a second career with his father, Rupert Sr., at Allen Harbor Marine Service. When his father retired, Ren assumed ownership and direction of the expanding boatyard and remained in that capacity until his death.

He is survived by a brother, Donald S. Nichols of Hyannis, a sister, Jane Cartmill of Encinitas, Calif., and several cousins. He leaves behind his close friend and caretaker of many years, Ralph Cordeiro, and his canine companion, “A.J.”

A final “bon voyage” will be held at the Allen Harbor Yacht Club, 371 Lower County Road, Harwich Port, on April 15 from noon to 5 p.m.

Memorial donations can be made to the 100 Club of Massachusetts, 17 Gloucester St., Boston, or to the Holderness School in Plymouth, N.H. A private funeral service will be held at a later date.

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