Thomas Frederick Nikolai “Doc”, age 92, of Marshfield WI passed away at his longtime home on Wednesday, July 12, 2023. He was born on August 21, 1930 in Marshfield WI the son of the late Hazel and Leo Nikolai.
On June 6, 1962 Thomas married Hildegard (Stiglmaier) Nikolai in Cleveland, OH. He met his wife, a nurse, while he was completing his internship and residency in internal medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. Upon the completion of his residency Tom and Hilda moved back to Marshfield where he began his career in medicine at the Marshfield Clinic. He continued his practice of internal medicine specializing in endocrinology at the Marshfield Clinic until his retirement.
During this time, he did groundbreaking research in the areas of thyroid disease and published 50 research papers and authored chapters in medical school textbooks. His largest medical breakthrough was the discovery of the disease “silent hyperthyroidism”. Doc continued his love of research and medical progress with the support of the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation. As President he was chairman of the first major fundraising drive that built the Lawton Center for Medical Research. After his retirement he continued to support and visit the employees at the Foundation and sponsored awards for outstanding researchers and residents.
Doc was born on a dairy farm and from this upbringing he developed a love for the outdoors. When he wasn’t practicing medicine, he was either hunting, fishing, or developing his land with ponds. From these activities he developed many good friendships that continued to his passing. His love of pond building led him to teach a class at the University of Wisconsin-Marshfield on pond ecosystem and maintenance. He passed along his love of the outdoors to his family who continue his traditions with the extended Nikolai clan.
He was an active member of Saint John’s Catholic Church and many community organizations including the Knights of Columbus, Elks Club and Rotary Club. The Rotary Club in 2014 presented him with its highest honor—the “Service Above Self Award”. He particularly enjoyed the Elk’s Club monthly steak feed with his friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents and wife Hilda, brothers Leo Jr. Nikolai and Floyd Nikolai, sisters Nancy Dixon , Mary Lou Kirsch, Patricia Thies, son Timothy Nikolai and grandson Brodie Nikolai. He is survived by his four children: Thomas J Nikolai (Kathy Nikolai), Mary Jo Nikolai, Douglas Nikolai ( Katie Nikolai), Michael Nikolai (Emily Nikolai) and his grandchildren: Jack, Matthew, Madeline, Remus, Sam, Vince, Jay, Rylie, Brynlie, Preslie, and brother Donald (Penny) NIkolai.
Memorial services will be held at 11:00 AM on Thursday, July 20, 2023 at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church Fr. Dan Thelen will officiate. Burial will be held in Hillside Cemetery in Marshfield. Visitation will be held at Hansen-Schilling Funeral Home (1010 E. Veterans Parkway) on Wednesday, July 19 from 5:00 until 7:00 PM and on Thursday from 9:00AM until the time of services at the church.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials to be designated to MCHS Foundation to support the Nikolai Resident Research Endowment. Memorials can be sent to MCHS Foundation, 1000 N. Oak Ave. Marshfield, WI 54449 or made online at https://marshfieldclinic.org/giving/donate