One of the more humorous reminiscences from U.S. 1’s 25th anniversary celebration was writer Nancy Kennedy recalling the early days when almost anyone who could drive a car and walk on their own two feet could be pressed into service as a delivery person.

Barbara Fox, U.S. 1’s senior correspondent, had a similar memory, but prompted by a sadder occasion. “In the early days of U.S. 1, in the 1980s when it was a monthly, everyone on the staff delivered the paper. One of my favorite routes was Princeton Service Center, because I would get to stop at the Prodex lab and chat with Joe Nichols. He reminded me so much of my father — an ever curious scientist, never stopping work, always eager to see what discoveries lay ahead. He would have been in his 70s then.”

In the 1990s I pitched in on delivery from time to time, and again I would find Joe — now in his 80s — in his lab. Alas I never got to attend a piano concert by his beloved wife, Sylvia, but when she died in 1995 he sent me a tape of her work.

Nichols, who founded Helitrex and Prodex and whose pioneering work in collagen — artificial skin — was also critical to the success of Integra, died November 27 at the age of 92. For more of Fox’s recollections of Nichols, see her blog: http://princetoncomment.blogspot.com

In another sad coincidence, Rob Thacker, whose outside-the-box ad agency was founded in the same year as U.S. 1, 1984, died November 21 at the age of 54. Thacker designed the ads for some of the early advertisers in U.S. 1 and was also involved in designing the catalogs and print ads for Landau store’s eye-catching Icelandic wool campaign.

In later years Thacker took on a partner, Robert Frank, and the agency became Thacker and Frank (now Frank Advertising) on Princeton-Hightstown Road.

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