Charles J. Nikolai, age 88, formerly of Isle, Minnesota, died peacefully on July 16, 2020, at St. Cloud Hospital - CentraCare with family at his side.
Due to the Covid 19 outbreak a memorial service celebrating Chuck’s life will be held at a later date. Interment will be in the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery, Little Falls, Minn. Funeral arrangements were made by Benson Funeral Home, St. Cloud, Minn.
Charles was born in Freeport, Minn., on April 15, 1932, to Dr. Roman and Loyola (Kapsner) Nikolai. He was raised in Northfield and attended high school there. After, he went to the Minnesota School of Business, received an A.A. degree in advertising, and then served in the U.S. Navy from 1952-1956 in Milton, Fla. Upon being discharged, Charles attended St. Cloud State University and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in education in 1960. He taught in Barrett, Minn., and later accepted the job of principal at Randolph High School while working on a Masters degree in school administration from Northern State College in Aberdeen, SD, Charles married Floy Ann Prine on August 26, 1961 and had three children.
“Chuck,” as he was affectionately known to friends and family, was the principal of Isle High School for 25 years. He was a proud veteran and lifelong member of the American Legion. He coached and loved to play golf with his “golf buddies” and son Pete, and had two hole in ones. He also enjoyed reading, fishing, tennis, camping and metal detecting with his kids, and had quite a coin collection. He told great stories, had a goofy sense of humor, and was known to pinch pennies so hard you could hear them squeak. He was a dedicated volunteer of Lions Club International and a devoted member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Wahkon, Minn., where he regularly did the readings. After 50 years in Isle, he and Floy Ann moved to St. Cloud.
Charles is survived by his wife, Floy Ann; children, Michelle Nikolai (John E. Smith) of Woodbury, Minn., Peter (Amelia) Nikolai of Nashville, Tenn., and Nancy Nikolai of Crystal, Minn.; brother, Loren (Anita) Nikolai of Columbia, Mo..; grandchildren James Nikolai, Sarah (Austin) Sperry, John Nikolai, Abigail Nikolai, Chandler and Tyler Soderlund, Conor and Aidan Smith; nieces and nephews; and other extended family members.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and brother, Dr. Leon Nikolai.
In lieu of flowers, monetary donations may be sent to the Isle School District 473 for the education of students.