February 14, 2022

Nancy Carol Nicolai

March 9, 1958 – February 9, 2022

Nancy Carol Nicolai, 63, passed away February 9, 2022 in Lincoln, NE. Born March 9, 1958 in Norfolk, NE, to her parents, Art and Glennis (DeVasure) Nicolai. She learned to swim before she could walk. Her first introductions to nature were through her grandma DeVasore’s garden, he mother taking her on walks and accompanying her father while pheasant hunting.  She lived in Lincoln until 1983, when she moved to California and lived there until leaving in 2000 for graduate school.

Nature and science captured Nancy’s spirit. She earned a bachelor’s degree In Biological Sciences from Nebraska Wesleyan University, she continued her education by earning a Master of Science degree in Biology and Ecology from San Diego State University and earned her Doctor of Philosophy degree in Rangeland Ecology & Management from Texas A&M University.

Nancy conducted an immense amount of research and was a dedicated educator in her field. She began work as a Wildlife Technician with an interagency grizzly bear study team in Yellowstone National Park. She also spent a year in Israel conducting desert research. Eventually serving as an Adjunct Professor at the University of New Mexico. She conserved many wildlife species and published eleven scientific journal articles. She spent her own time as a volunteer in conservations, such as the World Wildlife Fund and on prairie dog restoration at Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico.

Nancy received many awards and honors, including a “Governor’s Appreciation Award”, Santo Domingo Pueblo; three “Achievement Awards” from the Bureau of Land Management and three “Best Presentation Awards” from Scientific Societies.

She held memberships in Phi Kappa Phi, Sigma Xi Gamma Sigma Delta, North America Colleges & Teachers of Agriculture and Willard Sorority. She loved traveling, Hiking, bird watching, snorkeling, and gardening. Through genealogy, Nancy discovered her lineage to Revolutionary War patriot, Richard Whitehead. She was a member of Daughters of the American Revolution.

Nancy is survived by her brother, James Nicolai; cousins and nephews. She is preceded in death by her parents Art and Glennis.

A graveside service will be held at 2:00 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 19th, 2022, at Wyuka Cemetery, Lincoln. Memorials to the National Audubon Society.


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