Nils Glaesel Obel, 81, passed away in his home on Monday evening, October 8, 2018, after a courageous battle with cancer. His wife and her brother were by his side, along with his sweet dog Chloe.

Born in Copenhagen, Denmark on July 1, 1937, Nils is the son of Einar and Kirsten (Glaesel) Obel. Nils was educated in Copenhagen at the M. Anderson School and later in Paris at the Ecole de la Grande Chaumiere.

Nils’ interest in art was sparked at an early age as he always dreamed of being an artist. He indeed became an award-winning and professional artist for more than 50 years with numerous solo and group exhibitions in Europe and the United States. In 1976, Royal Copenhagen commissioned a line of porcelain that featured a series of his paintings. Many of his drawings are in private collections and in public collections at museums and corporations. His works has been featured in Fly Rod and Reel magazine, the Annual Report of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and The In-Fisherman. Notably his drawings were included in the “Ocean Planet” exhibition staged by the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. Art critics agreed that Nils’ talent at drawing the natural world revealed that he was, “a natural historian with a keen sense of aesthetics. Put another way, his images work as document, illustration, and as art." Nils continued to draw and paint through recent years, even refining and reworking some of his pieces this past summer.

Nils came to the United States in 1980 and explored the art scene in New Orleans as well as in coastal Maine. Nils grew up sailing from a very early age with his father in the waters off the coast of Denmark. When Nils eventually settled in Maine, he joined the Camden Yacht Club in 1984 and purchased the good ship Isbjornen (named for his favorite animal, the ice bear). From May until early October each year, Nils was on his boat peacefully sailing on the Penobscot Bay, and enjoying a robust social life that came with sailing in Camden. Nils loved to talk with everyone and share stories down at the Yacht Club; he was as delighted to speak with sailors he had known for years as he was to chat with a skipper from a ship in town for a regatta. He often earned the honor of having “the first boat in the water, and the last one out.” Nils truly loved the sea.

When Nils retired from sailing at the age of 75, he took up golf with a passion. A member of the Megunticook Golf Club since 2006, Nils spent countless hours on the course, sharing an infectious love of the game, a contagious warmth for the friends with whom he played, and a mischievous laugh with those lucky to be his partners. His involvement there continued up until his passing, and there remained a twinkle in his eye when he mentioned Megunticook, even through his illness.

Nils is survived by his wife, Leslie Simmons; a daughter, Jennifer Dougherty and her husband Jim of Alexandria, Virginia; a son Stewart Lawrence and his wife Pam of Denver, Colorado; and his four precious grandchildren: Abigail and Lily Dougherty, Maggie and Chase Lawrence. His dog Chloe survived him as well, and is still looking for him. The oldest of eight children, Nils is also survived by two brothers, Lars and Soren Obel of Denmark and a sister, Helle Obel of Germany.

Many thanks to his oncologist Dr. Matthew Dugan and to Dena Coughlin from MHCAH Hospice whose gentle care made it possible for Nils to remain at home where family and friends could visit him daily as he smoked a cigar on the deck and shared stories and laughs from “this beautiful life” that he loved so much.

A celebration of Nils’ life will be announced in the Spring of 2019.

Memorial donations may be made to the Camden Area Youth Seamanship Program, P.O. Box 204, Camden, ME 04843; and the Maine State Golf Association, c/o The First Tee LINK Rockland, 58 Val Halla Road, Cumberland Center, ME 04021.

Condolences may be shared with the family at Arrangements are with the Long Funeral Home and Cremation Service, 9 Mountain Street, Camden, ME 04843.