Obit: Nikolay, John J. "Jack" (1925 - 2011)




Surnames: Nikolay, Talaska, Lehnertz, Kelley


----Source: Marshfield News Herald (Marshfield, WI) 09/03/2011


Nikolay, John J. "Jack" (26 JUL 1925 - 31 AUG 2011)


John J. "Jack" Nikolay, 86, of Abbotsford, died peacefully with his family at his side on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2011. He was born July 26, 1925, to Jacob and Anna Nikolay in Medford. Jack was one of nine children, losing his father at age 12. Determination and courage, brought upon by the Great Depression, remained with him his entire life.

Jack graduated from Abbotsford High School in 1943. He went on to graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1946 and the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1949. While in college, he met and later married his beloved wife, Helen, later moving to Medford and eventually Abbotsford where he lived for the remainder of his life. Jack was elected Clark County District Attorney in 1951. Thereafter, he returned to Abbotsford and, along with his brother Frank and law partners, Raymond Scott and Corliss Jensen, formed the law firm of Nikolay, Jensen and Scott. The law firm was instrumental in handling cases with state-wide impact, extending throughout numerous states, nationally. He served as a longtime member of the Wisconsin Bar Association and Wisconsin Academy of Trial Lawyers. His law practice was driven by the same sense of compassion, understanding and generosity that touched so many lives during the course of his lifetime. Politics, as well, was a continuous part of his life. He served as a delegate to the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago and actively participated in the presidential campaigns of Sen. Eugene McCarthy and Sen. George McGovern. 

Jack's strong devotion to family, friends and community was embodied within many endeavors. He was instrumental in the growth and development of Abbotsford, a city he deeply loved and cared for. He served as President of the Abbotsford School Board. He was an active member of the Abbotsford Lion's Club. He was a longtime member of local golfing and bowling leagues. He enjoyed endless moments with family and friends. During the last decade, his devotion and work for the Shortner Family Trust greatly benefited communities and organizations throughout the Central Wisconsin area. 

Jack is survived by his wife Helen; two brothers, Frank (Mary) Nikolay and James (Cleo) Nikolay, both of Abbotsford; one sister, Anne (Tom) Talaska of Milwaukee; six children, Sharol (Bill) Lehnertz of Eden Prairie, Minn., David (friend, Nancy) Nikolay, of Abbotsford, Mary (John) Kelley of Green Bay, Jim Nikolay of Owen, Paul (Karen) Nikolay of Abbotsford, and Kathleen "Kitty" Nikolay of Abbotsford. 

Nearly 10 years ago, Jack lost his beloved daughter, Katharine "Kate" Nikolay to a courageous battle with cancer. He is also survived by 12 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. 

A private family service will be conducted in the weeks ahead. Family and friends are all invited to a Celebration of Life that will occur on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011, beginning at 2 p.m., at Jack and Helen's home in Abbotsford. 

To leave online condolences for the family, please visit

The Cremation Society of Wisconsin, Altoona, is serving the family.

The family extends their sincere gratitude for the kind thoughts and prayers of so many.



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