On February 5, 2013, Philippa (Phippy) Farwell Nichols completed her incredible journey on earth, which began on February 27, 1920. Due to her strong passion for life and of her love of family, her life exceeded doctors’ expectations for her battle with leukemia. Philippa was the daughter of Roy and Frances Farwell of Dodgeville, WI. She was the third generation born on the Farwell Century Farm, east of Dodgeville on the site of the present-day Folklore Village Farm.
Within her first years of life, it was discovered that Philippa was deaf. This was not the first challenge she would overcome. She moved to Madison to live with her Grandmother Cape and to begin her studies for lip reading at the age 3. Without deaf interpretation or sign language, she was the first deaf individual to be mainstreamed through West High School. She continued her education at UW-Madison as an Art Major, all without interpreters.
Together with her sister Jane Farwell, Phippy utilized her art skills and traveled the country, teaching art classes and designing brochures, hand-crafted invitations and syllabi for folkdance at the rural recreation camps and workshops they staffed. The sisters were determined to begin their own Folk Dance Camp. In 1947 in Mt. Horeb, they initiated the first Christmas Festival of folk dance, folk crafts, and traditional food preparation. This year, Folklore Village Farm, at the Farwell farmstead, celebrated its 65th Annual Festival of Christmas and Midwinter Traditions. This legacy festival has attracted families and folk artists from all over the US and beyond.
Philippa’s lifelong artistic endeavors included Norwegian rosemaling on beams in the family farm house, designing announcements, family Christmas cards, Christmas festival invitations and cookbooks for church fundraisers, designing award-winning church banners, and creating cherished pieces for friends and family.
In addition to her artwork, Philippa held full time jobs with Ray-O-Vac in Madison and Carnes Corporation in Verona, from which she retired from in 1990 after 23 years.
Phippy had a wonderful green thumb and love for flowers. She and her husband Bob were socially active in both the hearing and deaf communities and enjoyed traveling the world. Philippa never wanted to miss a family gathering and showed her love by remembering birthdays and anniversaries, as well as family history. Even without words, she was a superb communicator, known for her energetic passion, playful eyes and her warm smile.
In heaven, Philippa has joined her parents, Roy and Frances Farwell, her son, Robert Bruce and her sister, Jane Farwell. She leaves behind her beloved husband of 57 years, Robert E. Nichols, and her daughter Kristi Jane (Scott) Kading. The Nichols/Kading families wish to thank Heartland Hospice for the fabulous attention and in-home support they provided during Phippy's last weeks at home. We also want to thank Dr. Tyler Steward and staff at the UW Clinic and Dr. Cate Ranheim of Meriter hospital for their special care and support.
A celebration of the life of Philippa Farwell Nichols will be held on Sunday, February 24, 2013, from 1-3 pm at Folklore Village Farm, 3210 County Road BB, Dodgeville, WI 53533. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Folklore Village, Dodgeville, or to Our Savior Deaf Lutheran Church, Madison, WI.