The passing of Nanette Nicolay

The following is the obituary for retired Phoenix Middle School Spanish Teacher Nanette Nicolay, who passed away Sunday, Oct. 9. She was 56, and had taught our middle school students language and cultural arts for 32 years.


Nanette Nicolay

Nanette Nicolay

Nanette Elyse Nicolay entered eternal life on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011, at the age of 56.

Nanette was born on April 28, 1955, in Bloomington, Ill., and was the daughter of the late Maurice Joseph and Genevieve Marie Nicolay. In 1958 Nanette and her family moved to Sun Prairie where she grew up to be a beautiful, talented and vibrant young woman.

Nanette attended Sacred Hearts Catholic School and was a 1973 graduate of Sun Prairie Senior High School. She graduated cum laude from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1977 earning a B.S. degree in education with an advanced area of study in foreign language/Spanish. She went on to receive a M.S. degree from UW-Madison several years later.

Ms. Nicolay taught Spanish at Phoenix Middle School in Delavan and her passion for educational excellence was evident throughout her 32-year career in the Delavan-Darien School District. Her commitment to her profession and to her many students was unfailing as she shared her knowledge and love of the Spanish language and culture with those she taught. In addition to her work in the classroom, Ms. Nicolay also conducted educational travel excursions throughout Spain during the summer months that enabled her to enrich her students’ cultural knowledge, experience and language fluency. Her “classroom abroad” generated energy, enthusiasm and learning for all who participated in the experience.

She possessed a warm, generous and caring nature that she shared unconditionally. Nanette felt enormous empathy for all living creatures and throughout her lifetime she gave freely of her time, talent and treasure to those in need. Her charitable works and contributions to others was a natural way of life for her.

Nanette had a long list of favorites – movies, music, travelling and cocker spaniels to name a few. She especially treasured her loving family, her dogs and the 22 years spent with the love of her life, Paul “Rob” Deilly. She enjoyed cooking and entertaining and will long be remembered for her vivacious and engaging personality.

Nanette was preceded in death by her beloved parents, Joe and Jenny Nicolay; and her sister, Michelle J. Nicolay. Survivors include her two sisters, Mary (Paul) Rattmann and Meg Nicolay Taylor; her nephews and nieces, Bryon Rattmann, Ian (Paula) McIntyre, Jon (Heather) Rattmann, Alison McIntyre, Jessica (Nathan) Pottebaum and Gennifer Taylor. She was a great aunt to Gavyn and Lauryn McIntyre and Claire Rattmann. She is further survived by relatives and many friends.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at ST. PETER CATHOLIC CHURCH, 5001 N. Sherman Ave., Madison on Friday, Oct. 14, 2011, at 11 a.m. with Father Roger Nilles officiating. Burial will follow at Sacred Hearts Cemetery, Sun Prairie. Visitation will be held at RYAN FUNERAL HOME, 2418 N. Sherman Ave., Madison on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011, from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. and then again at church on Friday from 10 a.m. until the time of Mass.

Memorials may be made to the Doris Day Animal Foundation ( or The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at or the charity of your choice.

“In thee my soul shall own combined the sister and the friend.” — Catherine Killigrew

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324 Beloit St. Delavan, WI 53115
This entry was posted in Darien Elementary School, Delavan-Darien High School, Delavan-Darien School District, Phoenix Middle School, Turtle Creek Elementary School, Wileman Elementary School. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The passing of Nanette Nicolay

  1. Robert A. Snodie says:

    Wow, may Peace fill her families hearts as God welcomes her into His kingdom!  I had her in 5th grade in the middle 70’s, and I will never forget her devout love of the Spanish language. 

  2. jesse aranda says:

    we will always miss u. she was my homeroom teacher. you will always be missed

  3. Rachel L. says:

    I knew her my entire life and always will remember her for her sense of humor and warmth. I am sad she is gone but I know she is in a better place. I will love you forever Nanette.

  4. Krystie says:

    Everyone from the class of 2009 miss will her so! She was a great teacher

  5. Dave says:

    We will all miss you dear Nat.

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