OBITUARY

Nicolina "Nicki" Elliott

August 16, 1929January 12, 2021
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NICOLINA MARIA-PALMA ELLIOTT (nee Vitale), age 91, passed away on January 12, 2021. Born on August 16, 1929, in Highland Park Michigan, she was the youngest of three children born to Cesidio Orando and Maria Palma (Salterelli). Cesidio and Maria immigrated to the United States from Pescasseroli, Italy-a town located in the mountains of the Abruzzo Region of Central Italy.

Nicolina married Ronald C. Elliott from Robbinsville North Carolina on August 28, 1954. They were married in Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church in Detroit. While she and Ronald lived in Detroit, she was a member of Epiphany Parish. Upon their move to Livonia, she became and is currently a member of St Aidan’s Parish. They had one daughter, Mary Catherine.

Nicolina (Nicki) grew up in Highland Park Michigan and attended Highland Park Public Schools for elementary and high school. Upon graduation, she worked as an Administrative Assistant at the University of Detroit Law School. Nicolina was a trailblazer in that she was the first in her family to attend college and she put herself though college by giving piano lessons. She was an accomplished pianist and loved classical music. She made sure a piano was always in her home and music was playing on the radio. She always said one of the most difficult tasks she had in her life was the classical piano recital she had to give, without sheet music. She was successful and won accolades for her presentation. However, classical music was not the only music she loved. She fully enjoyed going to a wide variety concerts and musicals at the many venues throughout the Detroit area. Rod Stewart, Cher, Neil Diamond, Tony Bennett, Phantom of the Opera and Wicked were some of her favorites. The time she saw Cher, the Village People were the opening act, and Nicki was in the aisle doing the YMCA dance.

She graduated from Wayne State University with a Bachelor of Arts, with a major in music, and went on to get her Master’s in Education. She then attended Eastern Michigan University where she received her Specialist Degree in Special Education. Nicki loved to teach. She began her teaching career at Mountain View School in the Smoky Mountains near Robbinsville North Carolina, the family home of her late husband, Ronald. Ronald and she moved to the Detroit area to live and she then was hired at St. Robert Bellarmine in Redford Michigan as a first-grade teacher. She was there for a year, and then was hired by Livonia Public Schools. Over the years, she served in several teaching capacities some of them being a First-Grade teacher, a Reading and Language Specialist, and a Learning Specialist. Overall, she taught for 54 years and was honored by Livonia Public Schools upon her retirement in 2010. Teaching reading was her forte. She loved it so much and took such a keen interest in the success of her students. In the course of all her years of teaching, she has had prior students or family members of students who would spot her at a store or in a restaurant and would come up to her to say hello and to thank her for everything she did for them. She listened in earnest to her students’ accomplishments later in life and was so proud to have been a part of their growth. Almost every person asked her whether she remembered him or her….and the answer was YES! She remembered every students name...30, and 40 years later, along with the fact if they had a brother or sister at the same school.

Her Italian Catholic heritage held a prominent place in her life. She was a proud member of the Italian American Club of Livonia. Holidays were filled with platters of homemade ravioli and homemade gnocchi. She taught many family and friends how to make homemade pasta doughs over the years... all by hand...no electric pasta makers! Family, extended family and friends filled her home. The Italian Feast of Seven Fishes was celebrated on Christmas Eve as a nod to her parents who emigrated from Italy. However, Italian cooking was not her only strength. She learned how to prepare many southern dishes for Ronald ranging from corn bread to greens to homemade biscuits and gravy and cobblers. Let’s just say no one ever went away hungry from her home.

With family being such a central part of her life, Nicolina had a special relationship with her only grandchild, Mary Elizabeth. They were close friends, confidants, respected buddies as well as family. Nicki was as short as Mary Elizabeth is tall, so you could always spot them strolling through the local malls together. Many a weekend was spent shopping and going out for lunch where they would talk away the hours. With Nicki’s teaching background and knowledge of the American’s with Disabilities Act, she served as Mary Elizabeth’s hearing-impaired advocate, supporting her administratively and educationally. Nicki supported Mary Elizabeth’s years in Pharmacy School by transcribing her recorded pharmacy class lectures in the evenings after teaching a full day. Her unwavering support was an integral part of her loved one’s successes in life. Nicki loved her only son-in-law, Jim. They would go to gourmet Italian Food Shops together and buy so many items that the cupboards were stocked for weeks. She made sure she would always fix him one of his favorite dishes after their shopping excursions. Jim would do odd jobs around her house and while he was on the ladder, she was directing from below. Jim took her for rides on his ATV and in his antique roadster; the smile on her face was priceless. He tried to get her to ride on the back of his Harley, but in 48 years, it never happened. Later in life, when they both had sore knees, you could see them walking together, arm-in-arm, supporting each other. What a beautiful picture.

Nicolina had a gift of telling stories. Moreover, she had a story for everything! People would listen in earnest to her stories of real-life experiences and the impact they had on her. Many of them garnered a belly laugh and many of them had a strong take-away message. Over the years, her close family and friends heard these stories many times over but loved them each time. They have become a part of us that we will cherish forever.

Nicki loved animals. She always had at least one pet in her home over the years. She frequently brought home and cared for the school pets over summer vacation Dogs, birds, cats, turtles, and guinea pigs could be seen. She has supported various animal rescues, has donated time, and finances to helping many animals in need. Her current pet cat, Hannah, is going to miss her terribly. Hannah and Nicki would watch TV together on the sofa at night and would play throughout the day. Hannah will be coming to live with Jim and Mary Catherine.

Family and Friends may visit from 4:00 - 8:00 p.m. (with a rosary at 7:00 p.m.) Monday - January 18 at Harry J. Will Funeral Home 37000 West Six Mile Road, Livonia, MI 48152. Current restrictions will be 25 individuals at a time in the funeral home with mandatory masks and social distancing. On Tuesday - January 19 visitation continues from 9:00 a.m. until the time of the mass at 9:30 a.m. at St. Aidan Catholic Church 17500 Farmington Road, Livonia, Michigan 48152. Following mass will be a procession to Holy Sepulchre Cemetery for final committal and entombment. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Capuchin Soup Kitchen, Michigan Anti-Cruelty Society, or Michigan Animal Rescue League.

Oggi Nicolina è con Dio e Ronald e tutta la sua famiglia e gli animali domestici che sono andati prima di lei. È felice e in pace. Ci mancherà e la ameremo per sempre. (Today Nicolina is with God and Ronald and all her family and pets who went before her. She is happy and at peace. We will miss her and will love her forever.)

Please share a memory of Nicki or condolences with her family at her online guest book below.

Services

  • Visitation Monday

    Monday, January 18, 2021

  • Visitation Tuesday at Church

    Tuesday, January 19, 2021

  • Funeral Mass

    Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Memories

Nicolina "Nicki" Elliott

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Mary Fran Saenz

January 19, 2021

I knew Nikki as a fellow teacher in the Livonia Public Schools. She was always kind and professional and had a sweet smile. I also saw her at St. Aidan Church where we both were members. God Bless Nikki and her family. I am sorry that couldn’t attend due to illness.
Fran Saenz

Katie Scheib

January 19, 2021

Please accept my heartfelt condolences for the passing of your mother/grandmother. I really enjoyed getting to know her. She had such an interesting and inspiring life story. Your family will be in my prayers.

Aarti Batavia

January 17, 2021

Please do accept my heartfelt condolences, Mary.
Much love and warm regards,
Aarti

Lorna Durand

January 17, 2021

After I graduated from MSU, I begin substituting for Livonia Public Schools. Nicki was the first person for whom I substituted. She became a mentor and a friend. I always admired her for her skill, her kindness, and her dedication to the students in the district. She will be greatly missed. But I will have memories and know that I have learned much from her over the years.

Mary Wilkinson

January 15, 2021

I enjoyed working with Nicki when she was a well respected Learning Specialist in Livonia . She was always prepared to share an antidote regarding a teaching experience. It was so obvious that she held her students in high regard and enjoyed teaching. She will be remembered for her kindness and true interest in everyone with whom she came in contact. I offer my sincere condolences.

Susan Ott

January 15, 2021

What I would have written about Nicki has already been said so eloquently by Chris Wojcik. I can.only say that Nicki was a dear friend who was a big part of my life for many years, and I shall miss her for the rest of my life.

Hans, Linda Neuroth

January 15, 2021

Niki was a wonderful educator, always a professional example to those around her. She was always ready to help anyone needing it. Students always responded positively to her guidance in teaching. We both (Hans and I) worked with her many years in Reading Recovery. Thank you, Niki, for being a positive figure in Livonia education. We will always remember you and your accomplishments. God bless your daughter at this time.

Camille Williams

January 15, 2021

So sorry to hear about Nicki. We worked together for many years and I relied on her knowledge many times. When I needed support she offered willingly. She was a very intelligent and giving person and I will always remember her...

I am also sorry, Susan G. Allen, as I remember how close Mary Elizabeth was to her "granny". You all have many cherished memories to rely on but I know you will miss her very much as she was such an integral part of the family...

Sally Finley

January 15, 2021

Nicky touched so many lives with her knowledge and accomplishments. She was a wise soul. She never met a stranger and all enjoyed her stories. She will be deeply missed. Rest in Peace. Thought and prayers are with all she touched. Sally Finley

Br Nick Blattner Ofm Capuchin

January 15, 2021

On behalf of the Capuchin brothers I offer my deepest sympathies on the passing of Nicolina. It is truly humbling to receive memorial donations in memory of her life. Please be assured of the brother's prayers for the entire Elliott family during this great time of grief. May perpetual light shine upon Nicolina.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

Chrissy sleeping on Nicki’s pillow

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

Biography

NICOLINA MARIA-PALMA ELLIOTT (nee Vitale), age 91, passed away on January 12, 2021. Born on August 16, 1929, in Highland Park Michigan, she was the youngest of three children born to Cesidio Orando and Maria Palma (Salterelli). Cesidio and Maria immigrated to the United States from Pescasseroli, Italy-a town located in the mountains of the Abruzzo Region of Central Italy.

Nicolina married Ronald C. Elliott from Robbinsville North Carolina on August 28, 1954. They were married in Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church in Detroit. While she and Ronald lived in Detroit, she was a member of Epiphany Parish. Upon their move to Livonia, she became and is currently a member of St Aidan’s Parish. They had one daughter, Mary Catherine.

Nicolina (Nicki) grew up in Highland Park Michigan and attended Highland Park Public Schools for elementary and high school.
Upon graduation, she worked as an Administrative Assistant at the University of Detroit Law School.
Nicolina was a trailblazer in that she was the first in her family to attend college and she put herself though college by giving piano lessons. She was an accomplished pianist and loved classical music. She made sure a piano was always in her home and music was playing on the radio. She always said one of the most difficult tasks she had in her life was the classical piano recital she had to give, without sheet music. She was successful and won accolades for her presentation. However, classical music was not the only music she loved. She fully enjoyed going to a wide variety concerts and musicals at the many venues throughout the Detroit area. Rod Stewart, Cher, Neil Diamond, Tony Bennett, Phantom of the Opera and Wicked were some of her favorites. The time she saw Cher, the Village People were the opening act, and Nicki was in the aisle doing the YMCA dance.

She graduated from Wayne State University with a Bachelor of Arts, with a major in music, and went on to get her Master’s in Education. She then attended Eastern Michigan University where she received her Specialist Degree in Special Education.
Nicki loved to teach. She began her teaching career at Mountain View School in the Smoky Mountains near Robbinsville North Carolina, the family home of her late husband, Ronald. Ronald and she moved to the Detroit area to live and she then was hired at St. Robert Bellarmine in Redford Michigan as a first-grade teacher. She was there for a year, and then was hired by Livonia Public Schools. Over the years, she served in several teaching capacities some of them being a First-Grade teacher, a Reading and Language Specialist, and a Learning Specialist. Overall, she taught for 54 years and was honored by Livonia Public Schools upon her retirement in 2010.
Teaching reading was her forte. She loved it so much and took such a keen interest in the success of her students. In the course of all her years of teaching, she has had prior students or family members of students who would spot her at a store or in a restaurant and would come up to her to say hello and to thank her for everything she did for them. She listened in earnest to her students’ accomplishments later in life and was so proud to have been a part of their growth. Almost every person asked her whether she remembered him or her….and the answer was YES! She remembered every students name...30, and 40 years later, along with the fact if they had a brother or sister at the same school.


Her Italian Catholic heritage held a prominent place in her life. She was a proud member of the Italian American Club of Livonia. Holidays were filled with platters of homemade ravioli and homemade gnocchi. She taught many family and friends how to make homemade pasta doughs over the years... all by hand...no electric pasta makers! Family, extended family and friends filled her home. The Italian Feast of Seven Fishes was celebrated on Christmas Eve as a nod to her parents who emigrated from Italy. However, Italian cooking was not her only strength. She learned how to prepare many southern dishes for Ronald ranging from corn bread to greens to homemade biscuits and gravy and cobblers. Let’s just say no one ever went away hungry from her home.

With family being such a central part of her life, Nicolina had a special relationship with her only grandchild, Mary Elizabeth. They were close friends, confidants, respected buddies as well as family. Nicki was as short as Mary Elizabeth is tall, so you could always spot them strolling through the local malls together. Many a weekend was spent shopping and going out for lunch where they would talk away the hours. With Nicki’s teaching background and knowledge of the American’s with Disabilities Act, she served as Mary Elizabeth’s hearing-impaired advocate, supporting her administratively and educationally. Nicki supported Mary Elizabeth’s years in Pharmacy School by transcribing her recorded pharmacy class lectures in the evenings after teaching a full day. Her unwavering support was an integral part of her loved one’s successes in life.
Nicki loved her only son-in-law, Jim. They would go to gourmet Italian Food Shops together and buy so many items that the cupboards were stocked for weeks. She made sure she would always fix him one of his favorite dishes after their shopping excursions. Jim would do odd jobs around her house and while he was on the ladder, she was directing from below. Jim took her for rides on his ATV and in his antique roadster; the smile on her face was priceless. He tried to get her to ride on the back of his Harley, but in 48 years, it never happened. Later in life, when they both had sore knees, you could see them walking together, arm-in-arm, supporting each other. What a beautiful picture.

Nicolina had a gift of telling stories. Moreover, she had a story for everything! People would listen in earnest to her stories of real-life experiences and the impact they had on her. Many of them garnered a belly laugh and many of them had a strong take-away message. Over the years, her close family and friends heard these stories many times over but loved them each time. They have become a part of us that we will cherish forever.

Nicki loved animals. She always had at least one pet in her home over the years. She frequently brought home and cared for the school pets over summer vacation Dogs, birds, cats, turtles, and guinea pigs could be seen. She has supported various animal rescues, has donated time, and finances to helping many animals in need. Her current pet cat, Hannah, is going to miss her terribly. Hannah and Nicki would watch TV together on the sofa at night and would play throughout the day. Hannah will be coming to live with Jim and Mary Catherine.

Family and Friends may visit from 4:00 - 8:00 p.m. (with a rosary at 7:00 p.m.) Monday - January 18 at Harry J. Will Funeral Home 37000 West Six Mile Road, Livonia, MI 48152. Current restrictions will be 25 individuals at a time in the funeral home with mandatory masks and social distancing.
On Tuesday - January 19 visitation continues from 9:00 a.m. until the time of the mass at 9:30 a.m. at St. Aidan Catholic Church 17500 Farmington Road, Livonia, Michigan 48152. Following mass will be a procession to Holy Sepulchre Cemetery for final committal and entombment.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Capuchin Soup Kitchen, Michigan Anti-Cruelty Society, or Michigan Animal Rescue League.

Oggi Nicolina è con Dio e Ronald e tutta la sua famiglia e gli animali domestici che sono andati prima di lei. È felice e in pace. Ci mancherà e la ameremo per sempre.
(Today Nicolina is with God and Ronald and all her family and pets who went before her. She is happy and at peace. We will miss her and will love her forever.)

Please share a memory of Nicki or condolences with her family at her online guest book below.