Memorable Manitobans: James Reginald “Reg” Nichols (1914-2004)
Born at Winnipeg on 31 December 1914, son of William Nichols (1885-1963) and Annie Elizabeth Rivers (1886-1964), he started a career in aviation in 1936 at the Brandon Avenue Shops, as an employee of Canadian Airways Limited, a passenger and freight service airline founded by James Armstrong Richardson in 1926. In 1940, he received an aeronautical engineering license and worked as a mechanic on Junkers JU-52 aircraft in the area around Red Lake, Ontario.
In July 1944, he joined the Canadian army but was discharged in November 1945 for medical reasons. Continuing his career in aeronautics, he went to Sioux Lookout that same year as a crew chief and, in 1951, he was transferred to Edmonton as chief mechanic. He returned to Winnipeg in 1959 to work as a maintenance manager for Canadian Pacific Air Lines, which had bought out Canadian Airways in 1942, and retired in 1978 after 42 years in the aviation business.
On 25 September 1943, he married Pauline Popp (1912-2013) of North Kildonan. They resided there most of their lives and had one child. In retirement, he was a volunteer with the Western Canada Aviation Museum, an enthusiastic golfer, and an avid supporter of the Winnipeg Jets. He was a fisherman and duck hunter. As a gardener, he enjoyed sharing his bounty with Winnipeg Harvest.
He died at Winnipeg on 4 June 2004.
Birth registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 8 June 2004.
We thank Barbara Pankhurst for providing information used here.
This page was prepared by Lois Braun.
Page revised: 9 November 2020