Nancy Lea Kolp Erickson of Cedar Rapids passed away on Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018, from complications of posterior cortical atrophy (PCA), a rare, and especially virulent form of Alzheimer’s disease.
She was born Jan. 12, 1954, to Nyda Lea Haas Kolp and James Rush Kolp Nancy grew up in Algona, graduated from Algona High School and attended Drake University in Des Moines, where she was a member of Delta Gamma sorority and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education.
Nancy thrived in high school and at Drake, contributing her many musical talents to the Drake choir and to performances of Carousel and Gypsy, where she played the lead roles. She was also chosen to be a contestant in the Miss Iowa pageant in 1973, representing Kossuth County.
It was at Drake that she met her life partner, Steve Erickson. They were married Jan. 3, 1976, and started their lives together in Des Moines before moving to Mason City and then to Cedar Rapids, in 1986, where they lived ever since.
Nancy remained active in music her entire life, both in her Congregational Church choirs, often serving as the soprano soloist, and professionally as a music teacher. Nancy taught music in Madrid, West Des Moines and Cedar Rapids – first at Jefferson High School, then Nixon Elementary and finally at Erskine Elementary, where she taught for over 20 years, retiring in 2012. She loved children and loved teaching them how to appreciate all things musical. Nancy always took great care to ensure each of her students had important, individual roles in all her school music programs.
If there was anything Nancy could do better than teach music, it was to be a mother. Nancy and Steve had three wonderful sons: Bradley, James and Grant. Nancy loved her boys unconditionally, and through the wonder years, she was totally engaged in their lives, volunteering as “Team Mom” for countless choir performances and stage plays, and football, basketball, and baseball games often played throughout the country. She then proudly watched as her boys grew into accomplished young men.
Nancy was, in her own words, “a people person,” which made the diagnosis of PCA in 2014 particularly difficult for her. The disease slowly progressed until she passed peacefully on a December morning. She loved well, was well loved, and will be profoundly missed.
Nancy is survived by her husband Steve Erickson; her father James Kolp; her brother Thomas Kolp; her son Brad Erickson, his wife Catherine and their sons Oliver and Emmett; her son Jim, his wife Tara and their sons Beckham and Crew and daughters Harlow and Indie; her son Grant; and her dog Alex. Nancy was preceded in death by her mother Nyda (Haas) Kolp.
A celebration of Nancy’s life will be held Saturday, Jan. 12, at Cedar Memorial Chapel of Memories, Cedar Rapids, beginning at noon, with services at 1 p.m. In honor of her passion and profession, a number of choirs will perform.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to The Nancy L. Erickson Music Education Fund, which was established by her family to provide scholarships to teachers and students with a passion for music in her name:
The Erickson family would also like to personally thank the Family Caregivers Center of Mercy Cedar Rapids, who provided support when it was needed most.
Online condolences may be left for the family at cedarmemorial.com.