Nancy Lea Kolp Erickson of Cedar Rapids passed away on Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018, from complications of posterior cortical atrophy, a rare and especially virulent form of Alzheimer's disease. She was born on Jan. 12, 1954, to Nyda Lea Haas Kolp and James Rush Kolp. Nancy grew up in Algona, Iowa, 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 also was 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 on Jan. 3, 1976, and started their lives together in Des Moines before moving to Mason City, Iowa, and then to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in 1986, where they have 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 more than 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 teaching music, it was being 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 on Saturday, Jan. 12, at Cedar Memorial Chapel of Memories, 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. Donations may be made at:
The Erickson family also would like to personally thank the Family Caregivers Center of Mercy Cedar Rapids, who provided support to us when it was needed most and when we didn't realize how much we needed it.
Online condolences may be left for the family at cedarmemorial.com.