Nick  Orrick


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Andover - Nick Orrick, longtime warden of AVIS' Deer Jump Reservation, died Saturday, May 11, following a yearlong struggle with a neurological disorder. He was 83.
Around 1980, Orrick briefly served as acting president of AVIS, the Andover Village Improvement Society, a 125-year-old conservation organization. For more than 30 years after that, he was the warden of Deer Jump Reservation in west Andover, a 131-acre tract along the Merrimack River that backed up to the home where he lived with his wife, Joan, from 1970 until this winter.
The setting suited their love of the outdoors, including canoeing, hiking and skiing.
Orrick became an outdoorsman by chance. Born Nicholas Boykin Orrick in New York City, he was the child of an architect father and a fashion designer mother. As a youngster, he assumed the entire earth beneath Manhattan was concrete, sewer or subway. But when he was old enough, he took the train to an overnight summer camp in Maine, where he was introduced to canoeing, taking overnight trips on the Penobscot, Piscataquis, Kennebec and Saco rivers -- waters he would return to for years.
A blend of outdoorsy athleticism, nerdy enthusiasm, and artistic curiosity, Orrick was also a fan of crossword puzzles, brain teasers, chess and Go, and taught himself to play the guitar. In college in the 1950s, he and several friends hosted a folk music radio show as the genre was in its nascent revival, highlighted by a brief on-air session with legend Pete Seeger. His children will always remember him playing songs as he sat on their bedside in the dark, singing them to sleep.
After graduating from Harvard in 1957 with a degree in Mathematics, he worked as an aerospace engineer for AVCO and several Department of Defense contractors at MIT's Lincoln Laboratories in Lexington, specializing in radar.
Nick and Joan, a registered nurse, married in 1968. After settling in Andover, they both became active in town. She served as president of the Andona Society in the 1970s. He coached their two children's teams for the Andover Soccer Association and what was then the church basketball league. Orrick was a longtime member of the Andover Squash Club, hiked the White Mountains and skied a range of terrain, from the woods of Deer Jump to the Swiss Alps.
In later years, he took up golf -- to both his detriment and delight. On Sept. 4, 2013, he soared a 9-iron into the 132-yard 8th hole at Kettlebrook Golf Club in Paxton. His trademark bright yellow ball found the cup, scoring a hole-in-one. His golfing legacy, however, is less proud, and can be witnessed in myriad yellow balls lying in state in the woods and waters of courses throughout the Merrimack Valley.
Orrick was preceded in death by a sister, Martha, and is survived by sister Sarah Orrick, of Elliston, Va.; wife Joan; son Dave of St. Paul, Minn.; daughter Jennifer Carter of Salem, N.H.; three grandchildren; and two nephews.
A private memorial was to be held and his ashes were to be scattered in accordance with his and his family's wishes.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to AVIS at
Published on May 16, 2019
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