Wife, Mother, Meme, super nurse, spaghetti sauce maker extraordinaire, Queen For A Day on The Price Is Right , Louie’s sidekick and friend to all. Mona Claire Skahan Nicoletti was all of this and so much more.
Mona was born May 29, 1927 in Turck, KS to Edward (Ted) and Martha Ferns Skahan. She lived a simple but happy childhood surrounded by loving parents and her brothers, sisters and cousins. She always described her life with her cousins as “we were one big family, just like brothers and sisters”. They had many fun days playing pranks on each other. She attended Stippeville school, where her older sister, Mary Jo, was one of her teachers. She had an especially close relationship with her twin cousins, Deana and Donna, who were 2 weeks younger than her. Mona graduated from Cherokee County Community High School, Columbus, KS, in 1945. World War II was in full swing at that time and she was offered the opportunity to go to nursing school under the Cadet Army Nurse Corp at Mt. Carmel School of Nursing, Pittsburg, KS. Mona thrived in her new role as a nurse. It was definitely her calling, as was evidenced with her compassion and kindness for everyone. She often spoke of her days at Mt Carmel School of Nursing as “long days of doing everything from scrubbing the floors and stairs to sharpening needles”. She had one half-day off a week. It was during this time that the cute nursing student met a sharp dressed Italian man named Louie from Chicago ( via Arma), on a blind date. Louie often spoke of Mt Carmel School of Nursing as “Fort Mt Carmel” due to their strict rules and the limited time he could spend with Mona.
Louie Nicoletti and Mona Claire Skahan were united in marriage at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, Columbus, Kansas on July 30, 1949, where she remained a member until her death.
Mona and Louie made their home in Chicago, IL, where Mona worked as an RN at St Ann’s Hospital, until 1951, when they returned to Columbus, KS. In 1952, Mona and Louie started Louie’s Grocery and Service Station. They were blessed with four children. Mona used to tell everyone “we had four children, but God only let us keep two of them”. They worked 7 days a week to provide for their family. Besides working at the store, Mona also worked at Maude Norton Memorial Hospital, and then, in 1963, went to work at the Cherokee County Health Department where she was employed for 27 years. She was the supervisor when she retired in 1990. Her compassion, once again, became evident in her work with the many families in Cherokee County. Luann and Patti remember receiving a phone call during Christmas Eve dinner, asking to speak to the” County Health Nurse”. It was someone reporting an infant who was starving and in a home with no heat and was in need of medical care. It was a cold snowy night. Mona said “ I can’t eat. I have to go”. Mona saved that baby’s life that Christmas Eve night.
Mona was the matriarch of her family. She was the stabilizing and loving force of the family. Her family was everything to her. Many times, she dropped everything to care for her children, grandchildren or great grandchildren. If she came to care for the children or grandchildren, her daughters would arrive home to find a “chart” completed for each ill child and their homes smelling like bleach. The grandchildren remember eating Lipton Noodle Soup and watching The Price Is Right on sick days. At the very end of her life, the only thing that could put a smile on her face was her family.
Mona is survived by her daughters and sons-in-law, Luann and Rick Lamar of Carl Junction, MO, Patti and Jeff Johnson of Joplin, MO. She was Meme to her grandchildren, Jillian Lamar Allen and her husband ,Brandon, Caitlin Lamar Plumb and her husband, Isaac, Jaide Lamar, Drew Johnson and his wife Britt and Lauren Johnson, and to her great grandchildren Anistyn Honey, Jossilyn Honey, Ayden Allen, Judah Allen, Kinsley Plumb, Beckett Plumb and Sloan Stonebarger. Mona is also survived by her sisters Fern Skahan Sandella, Patricia Skahan Blizzard and Kathryn Skahan Garrett and many cousins, nieces and nephews. Her rescue dog and constant companion, Bennie, will miss her.
Mona was predeceased by her husband, Louie, her infant daughter, Cynthia Jo Nicoletti, and her infant son, Louis James Nicoletti Jr., her mother and father, as well as her siblings, Don Skahan, Mary Jo Skahan Russell, June Skahan Jones, Teddy Skahan, Jane Arlene Skahan.
The Visitation will be held from 9:00 am – 10:00 am Friday October 26, 2018 at St Rose of Lima Catholic Church, Columbus, KS. It will be followed by the Rosary at 10:00 am and the Funeral Service at 10:30 am. All services will be held at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church.
In lieu of flowers, please consider contributing to the Mona Claire Skahan Nicoletti Nursing Scholarship which has been established at Pittsburg State University.
Mona Claire Skahan Nicoletti Nursing Scholarship, C/O PSU Foundation, P.O. Box 4005, Pittsburg, KS 66762
Mona lived an amazing life in her 91 years! She was the most caring, selfless, loving person that anyone could be lucky enough to meet. We will miss her.