Obituary for Antoinette Loretta Macaluso Nichols of Whispering Pines

Antoinette “Ann” Loretta Macaluso Nichols, 89 of Whispering Pines, NC passed away on Friday evening September 22, 2023, in peace and surrounded by her loved ones.

Ann was born on March 21, 1934, in Brooklyn, NY to Mary Gangichiodo Macaluso and Dominick Macaluso. As one of seven children, Ann learned the importance of frugality and talking and walking fast. After graduating from high school, Ann had a variety of “people” jobs and moved to a variety of places including Virginia, Georgia, and North Carolina. She was the proud mother of Denise Arbia Henderson (husband Kevin, Rockingham), Marianne Olstrom (Whispering Pines), and Nicholas Arbia (wife Renee, Leland).

Throughout her thirty-year marriage to her beloved husband William “Bill” Nichols, Ann spent time in Wilmington and Fuquay Varina entertaining, traveling, dancing, cooking, and loving life. She was active in the Catholic parishes wherever she lived and spent many hours helping those humans and animals that were less fortunate than her.

Her love for people and animals had no limits. Before she left assisted living six years ago to live with her daughter Marianne and grandson Doug, she was known for wheeling residents “wherever they needed to go,” “helping the cafeteria workers keep the place spotless,” and entertaining everyone who met her with her sense of humor, graces, and contagious optimism. Her dog Coco and her cats OC, Samantha, and Daisy lived like royalty and never missed a snack or a chance to sit in Ann’s lap.

Ann’s expressions and life lessons were legendary. Two of her favorites, to no surprise to anyone, were about positivity and mental health. She would often bring friends and family flowers and remind them to stop and truly take time to smell those flowers and enjoy life. She also was known for grabbing a loved one’s arm and gently kissing it while simultaneously emphasizing that we all should “kiss and love ourselves first so that we can love others.”

Even as dementia took over Ann’s world and she no longer could walk or talk, Marianne and Doug tirelessly included her in every family activity. She went on vacations, went shopping, and on any adventure or everyday activity they took.

Ann is preceded in death by her parents; brothers and sisters Florence Helmerich, Josie Damone, George Macaluso, Natalia “Lucky” Macaluso, Salvatore Macaluso, and Dominic “Mimi” Macaluso; and husband, Bill Nichols.

Ann’s grandchildren are Christine Strickler, Doug Johnson, Xavier Arbia, and Imogen Arbia. Her great-grandchildren are Jamie Kohl, Deven Freeman, Alex Johnson, and Mason Johnson. Her great-great-grandchildren are Olivia Freeman and Jace Kohl.

Ann’s family would like to thank Comfort Keepers, First Health Hospice, and Richmond County Hospice for their support and love. Her longtime CNA, Paula Kay Pruitt and sitter Ronna Martin of Comfort Keepers had become a part of the family.

Additionally, the family would also like to thank pallbearers Nick Arbia (son), Kevin Henderson (son-in-law) Doug Johnson (grandson), Deven Freeman (great-grandson), Mike Cullison (longtime friend), and John D’Amico (nephew).

The family invites everyone to attend any or all the celebrations of Ann’s life well-lived on Saturday, September 30th.

Services will include a visitation from 11-12 and a funeral from 12-1 at Pinehurst United Methodist Church, 4111 Airport Road. At 1:30, the Rite of Commitment will be performed at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Cemetery located on the campus of St. John Paul II School, 2922 Camp Easter Road.

At 2:00, a time of fellowship, a late lunch, and happy memories will be shared at 86 Pine Lake Drive in Whispering Pines.   

In lieu of flowers, we suggest a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association or the animal shelter of your choice.

Our family is grateful to know that Ann is finally dancing again.

Care of the family is entrusted to Crumpler Funeral Home-Aberdeen.

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