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James H. Nikolay

June 15, 1927 - March 28, 2019

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James “Jim” H. Nikolay, age 91, formerly of Abbotsford, died on Thursday, March 28, 2019 in Madison, Wisconsin. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 12:00 p.m., Saturday, April 6, 2019 at St. Bernard Catholic Church in Abbotsford. Father Joseph Redfern will officiate. Inurnment with Military Honors by Colby VFW Post #2227 will follow at Abbotsford Public Cemetery. Visitation will occur at the church beginning at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, until time of service. 

Jim was born on June 15, 1927, the son of Jacob and Anna (Illig) Nikolay, in the Town of Browning, Marathon County. He graduated from Abbotsford High School in 1945 and attended UW Madison. Jim was drafted into the U.S. Navy in 1945 and was stationed in Hawaii until his discharge in 1946. Jim married Cleo Studinger on October 10, 1953 at Holy Rosary Church in Medford, Wisconsin.

Jim’s life was a shining example of service to others. Whether it was family, neighbors, church, community, or at the post office, he quietly stepped up and did whatever was needed. He never sought the spotlight or talked about his service; he just filled a need where he found one.

Jim started work at the Abbotsford Post Office in 1946 and was there for 40 years, serving as postmaster for 13 years. He managed the Abbotsford City baseball team for 40+ years, volunteered with the Abbotsford Fire/Rescue and Ambulance services, was an active member of Knaack-Thompson VFW Post #865, serving as commander and quartermaster,, faithfully participated in and/or led the annual Memorial Day commemoration at the cemetery, served in various roles in his parish church and on the local school board, and was always ready to help family, friends, neighbors, or strangers.

Jim enjoyed tending his flowers, vegetables, and lawn, and watching the St. Louis Cardinals, Wisconsin Badgers, Green Bay Packers, and Abbotsford High School teams. For years, he was on league bowling and golf teams, and he was a clown for Abbotsford’s Christmas Parade from its inception. Jim had a special affinity for babies and children. He especially enjoyed following his children and grandchildren in their sporting events and other activities. Most importantly, Jim cherished his family.

Jim left us much as he lived: quietly and with no fuss. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Cleo of Madison; six children: Susan (Tom) Bogaard of Excelsior, MN, Lynn (Mark) Scotch of Plover, Steven Nikolay of Little Chute, Robert (Nancy) Nikolay of Sun Prairie, Joan Nikolay of Mankato, MN and Matthew (Stacey) Nikolay of Holmen; 11 grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren. He is

further survived by his sister, Anne (Tom) Talaska of Greenfield; many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

He is preceded in death by his parents; a daughter-in-law, Tracy Schmidt; a grandson, Jason Scotch; five brothers: Alfred, Melvin, Jack, George and Frank; and two sisters: Helen Archambo and Estelle Hess.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Jim’s name to St. Jude or a charity of your choice.