David MacNichol was born April 18, 1932 in Eastport, Maine, the son of Alexander MacNichol and Genevieve (Roche) MacNichol. He attended the University of Maine in Orono where he majored in History and Government and graduate school at the University of Maine. He left college to serve in the Army during the Korean War. His mother, Genevieve, was the secretary to Dexter Cooper when the idea was conceived for the Passamaquoddy Tidal Project. His father, Alexander, was from Eastport and was the Commissioner of the Roosevelt-Campobello International Park. His brother, Alex, is a lawyer with the firm Jackson & MacNichol in Portland. MacNichol worked with his father at Campobello, and later became a banker.
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L'Hommedieu, Andrea, "MacNichol, David oral history interview" (2002). Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection. 230.