Obituary: Nicholas A. DeCola, Sr.

1927 – 2020

Nicholas A. DeCola Sr., 93, of Reading, formerly of Medford, died Thursday, April 9, 2020. A US Navy Seabee veteran of WWII, he was the devoted husband of the late Anna L. (Tarallo) DeCola and brother of Joann (Jenny) Rich of Woburn. He was the loving father of James and his wife Catherine of North Reading, the late Nicholas A. DeCola Jr. and his surviving wife, Elaine DeCola of Malden, and the late Angela Marshall-Wantman and her surviving husband, James Wantman of North Reading. He leaves his grandchildren; James Marshall and Kasia Sokalla of Methuen, Jennifer Marshall, and Deva Parkin of Longmont, CO, Elizabeth and James Fortuna of Huntington Beach, CA, Robert DeCola, and Brigitta Patterson of Medford, and Trina and Tyler Wantman of North Reading. He also leaves 4 great-grandchildren; Maya and Nicholas Marshall of Methuen, and Sarah and Michael Fortuna of Huntington Beach, Calif. He was predeceased by 3 sisters and 2 brothers.

Nick attended Boston Public schools before enlisting in the Navy. Having already learned many building and construction skills from his father, Nick joined the Construction Battalion, or Seabees, which was the perfect fit. He proudly served in Guam during World War II as a WT3 in the 103rd US Naval CB unit and often told the story of his chance meeting with Admiral Nimitz.

Nick’s time with the Seabees defined his career. After the war, he went on to work in the construction industry for close to 40 years and was able to point out many buildings in Greater Boston that he had helped construct. He also served as Clerk of the Works for the City of Medford.

Nick and his wife Anna raised their 3 children in Medford, where he lived for 70 years. He was active in the Boy Scouts, participated in many real estate projects, and enjoyed hunting with his beagles, all named Pudgy.

In retirement, Nick remained active. He enjoyed skiing, range shooting, walking, swimming, gardening, and sailing his catamaran on Martins Pond with his grand-dog Barnaby. He was a collector of many things and loved to find new treasures at yard sales.

Nick also stayed very active in the Navy Seabee Veterans of America, Island X-6, Wilmington, Ma. He marched in many parades with the group and served 2 terms as commander of Island X-6.

Nick was a young, fun-loving grandfather. He played non-stop with his grandchildren and taught them at an early age to hammer a nail, shuffle and play cards, use a bow and arrow, and build all kinds of things. Although his grandchildren called him by many names — Popeye, Pa, Vazza — he always answered.

For many years he helped his wife Anna, who provided child-care inside their home, in caring for the children. It gave him even more opportunities for playing, joking, and enjoying little ones. His great-grandchildren will remember him as a loving, happy man who loved to tease them. They will keep his wonderful stories with them forever.

Nick was always smiling and happy. He never missed an opportunity to tease or joke with someone. He was notorious for stealing food, especially cookies, right out of an unsuspecting hand. He was always quick to remind those around him to be positive. His great smile and mischievous ways will be fondly remembered.

His family is grateful for all the wonderful memories and fun stories that they can continue to share. He lived a full and happy life and will be missed by all who knew him.

Nick’s family would like to thank the Staff at Artis Senior Living in Reading for providing a safe and loving home for him for the last 19 months. The kindness of the staff, along with their love and dedication, will never be forgotten. Donations in Nick’s memory may be sent to Artis Senior Living, 1100 Main Street, Reading, MA 01867. Services will be held at a later date. Arrangements are by the Croswell Funeral Home, 19 Bow St., North Reading.

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