Derrie Nichols Stearns, 93, fell peacefully asleep in Christ at Vernon Advent Christian Homes in Vernon, Vermont where she and her husband, Herbert, were spending their final years. They were married for 69 years and previously resided in Nashua, Amherst and Wilton, New Hampshire from 1953 - 2018.
Derrie was an only child, lovingly raised by her devoted Advent Christian parents, Dr. James A. Nichols Jr. and Pearl Wales Nichols in Roxbury Massachusetts, with summers spent at their family home in Casco, Maine. Derrie attended the New England School of Theology in Brookline MA (later, Berkshire Christian College) where her father was a professor. She graduated in 1951 with a B.A. in Theology. She was Editor-in-Chief of the yearbook and played on the women’s basketball team. She went on to pursue her passion for writing and wrote many children’s stories and articles for Christian magazines and publications.
When Derrie was sixteen, she met Herbert at a church service in NH where her father had a preaching engagement. After a six year acquaintance through their Advent Christian Church family, they began dating in 1952. The following January they became engaged, and married in June 1953. As a young homemaker and mother of five children, she continued writing on and off, also teaching Sunday School at Bethel Advent Christian Church in Manchester, NH where they attended for many years. She enjoyed being a scout leader for Boy Scouts and Brownies in Amherst, eventually earning her teaching certificate and teaching third grade at the Brookline Elementary School from 1968 to 1970. In the 1970s she was the Amherst Correspondent for the Milford Cabinet. She enjoyed mingling in the community, taking black and white photos with her Polaroid camera, and writing articles about town news and events. Derrie enjoyed working, homemaking and raising her children; taking things in stride and living life to the fullest with family trips and activities. Any trials and tribulations along the way she put in God’s hands and drew strength from Him. She was friendly and loving and well known for her beautiful, ready smile.
After Herbert’s retirement they spent a year traveling the U.S. with their La Strada camper trailer in tow, seeing the sights and visiting family. Derrie enjoyed taking photographs and journaling along they way. They then spent the next 30 years in Wilton, NH, where Herbert designed and built a unique post and beam home for them. They lovingly adopted their own grandson, Gregory, and devoted themselves to raising him as a son and a brother to us, becoming parents for a second time around. During their time in Wilton, they attended the Good News Bible Church.
Derrie aspired to eventually call one of the Advent Christian communities her home. In 2018 when the need for assisted living came along, Derrie was elated to move to Vernon Homes where she re-kindled friendships and connections with many of her church family from years past. We are grateful to the Vernon Homes’ staff for their energetic and loving care. Derrie shared many a laugh with staff members and enjoyed frequent visits with family. It was lovely for everyone to hear her reciting poems or bible verses that she had memorized over her lifetime.
Derrie is survived and loved by her husband, Herbert C. Stearns, Jr. and children, Herbert C. Stearns III (Lori), James W. Stearns (Susan), Regina B. Stearns, Laura M. Johnson (Mark), Pamela J. Crafts (James), Gregory H. Stearns (Alycia), 14 grandchildren, 9 great grandchildren, and her beloved second cousin, Connie Googins Waterman of Maine.
All friends of Derrie are invited to her celebration of life at the River of Life Church in Amherst, NH on Saturday, June 10th at 10:30am. Lunch will be served afterwards in the fellowship room.
Her ashes will be interred at a later date in the State Veterans Cemetery in Boscawen, NH.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to: Vernon Advent Christian Homes’ new Green House Community, https://www.greenhousevt.org/support-us or Advent Christian General Conference, https://www.acgc.us/donate/