Sonja Louise Nikolay, 85, of Cambridge, Wisconsin passed away on February 15th, 2021 in Madison, Wisconsin.
Sonja was born on January 1st,1936 in Portage, Wisconsin to Della (Hendrickson) and Bernard Mitchell. Her childhood was in Oxford, Wisconsin where she helped in the family grocery store and developed her love of animals; raising all kinds of pets. She spent much of her early life in southern Wisconsin and attended UW-Madison, UW-Stevens Point, and UW-Whitewater. She received her Master’s degree in education and put a few credits toward a PhD. Cambridge has been her home since 1969, minus a few years spent in Oxford. She became an accomplished elementary school teacher of 37 years, teaching kindergarten in Cambridge for 24 years, until her retirement in 1995. Sonja is remembered as a dedicated instructor who loved working with her students and was revolutionary in infusing environmental education into her teaching.
She was a member of the Community of Caretakers and a Spiritual Growth group. People knew her as a writer, photographer, lover of animals and an advocate for children’s education. She published children’s poetry in Canada and Australia, and loved to study politics, religion, environmental issues and her family’s genealogy. Her motivation, intelligence, and zest for life will be remembered by all who knew her.
Sonja is survived by her sons, Bernard (Karen) Nikolay and Daniel Nikolay; her grandchildren, Erica Lowrey, Aimee Schroeder, Anthony (Katie) Lowrey, Ashley Lowrey, Ryan (Marie) Nikolay, Courtney Nikolay, Alisa (Alfredo) Rattmann-Santiesteban, Anna Nikolay, Jay Nikolay, and John “Jack” Nikolay. She has 7 great-grandchildren and several dear cousins.
She was preceded in death by her mother, Della, her father Bernard as well as her daughters, Julie Ann (Bob) Nikolay-Meracle, Lorie Jill (Gary) Nikolay-Rattmann and her dearest cousin John (Nancy) Schellkopf, and her Aunt Dorothy (Darrell) Schellkopf.
Sonja will be buried alongside many of her family members in the Oxford Cemetery, at a private ceremony in the summer. Memorials can be made to the Jefferson County Humane Society or the Jefferson County WI Aging and Resource Center for their efforts in making our community Dementia Friendly.
Nitardy Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences can be made at www.nitardy funeral home.com.