Nico Raphael Palania

February 12, 1996June 1, 2019

Nico Raphael Palania, 23, passed away on June 1st, 2019.

Nico was a student at the University of Louisville where he was studying music, and was a member of the Collegiate Chorale, and the Cardinal Rule. Nico was involved in many different bands and vocal groups including the Thoroughbred Chorus, Cool Hand Ukes, War Sugar, and many others.

Nico started his education at St. Albert the Great School and then went on to YPAS at duPont Manual High School, where he co-founded the Ukulele Club. Nico’s jobs included being a team member at the Potbelly Sandwich Shop, where he created a milkshake called, “The Nico Shake”, which was on the menu for a while. He was also a Bellman/Valet at the Brown Hotel, and most recently at The Hyatt. Those left to cherish Nico’s memory include, mother, Mylene Palania; father, Noel Palania; sister, Jianna Palania; grandmothers, Matilde Polido, and Nenita Palania; aunts and uncles, Cezar Polido (Kelly), Myra Aldi (Tony), Cedric Polido (Lota), Luvie Torreno (Arthur), Ariel Palania (Deng), Jeff Palania; cousins, Kenneth, Jonathan, Katelyn, Christopher, Andrew, Ella, Liam, BJ, BA, Dimple, Apple, AJ, and RJ; and his girlfriend, Jessica Heinz.

Preceding Nico in passing were his grandfathers, Cecilio Polido and Reynaldo Palania.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Thursday, June 13, at 11 AM at St. Albert the Great Catholic Church. Visitation will be Wednesday, June 12, from 12-9 PM, with a Celebration of Life service at 6 PM, at the Arch L. Heady Funeral Home at Westport Village, 7410 Westport Rd. Nico will be laid to rest at Calvary Cemetery following Mass on Thursday.

Memorial contributions can be made to one of Nico’s passions, the Thoroughbred Chorus, 10609 Watterson Trail, Jeffersontown, KY, 40299, attention to Drew Wheaton.

“You - you alone will have the stars as no one else has them. In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars are laughing, when you look into the sky at night. You – only you – will have stars that can laugh.” – The Little Prince


  • Visitation Wednesday, June 12, 2019
  • Celebration of Nico's Life Wednesday, June 12, 2019
  • Funeral Mass Thursday, June 13, 2019


Nico Raphael Palania

have a memory or condolence to add?

Gloria Van Leer-Smith

June 20, 2019

Hello, I'm am so very sorry to hear of the loss of such a wonderful, talented and kind young person, which of whom I know was well loved and will be very dearly missed. My heart and the heart of my family go out to you. I am the mother of Sophia and Joshua Crowder. Sophia and Joshua both are out of the US. I told Sophia that I would reach out to you for her.

This is what she said:
"Nico was a good friend of mine in high school. He was a music student and played the ukulele. He was the reason I wanted to play one. He was very kind." {Her ukelele is here at home with me} We will cherish it's presence always...

That blessed me because as a child I too had a ukulele as well! My children are heartbroken at the passing away of a good friend. We love you and If I can help in any way at all please feel free to contact me at any time. I pray the peace of Jesus Christ to rest upon you, and to give you peace. Gloria Smith, P. EWPC 502-964-3304 ext. 1100
(she is the short one in the attached photo)!

Adam Martin

June 17, 2019

I’m probably going to ramble a bit, just want to put my thoughts down.
I knew Nico in high school. I was never a student to get involved in any club, activity or extracurricular anything, didn’t have a ton of friends and didn’t hang out with many people. I met Nico through friends I made in Guitar class. Even though all I ever wanted to do was go home and play video games, Nico invited me to Ukulele Club and his way, his person, kindness, friendliness, and his passion actually motivated me for once in all my time at school. I was only able to attend twice during senior year because I lived far from school and couldn’t arrange a way to get home, but staying for a club twice was extraordinary by my standards. My mom instantly knew who I meant when I told her of his passing, because he was the one who brought me out of the house to actually spend time with friends. In all high school I stepped foot in two friend’s houses, one was a friend from childhood, and the other was Nico’s house. He was just so kind, caring, compassionate, just absolutely amazing really, I can’t wrap my mind around his passing. He stands out to me as one of the most exceptional people I have ever met. He and two others at school were the greatest factors in my recovery when my dad passed away senior year. There’s no good place to end my thoughts about him here, I just keep thinking of things about him and there isn’t a way to express it all. In my opinion no one could possibly have come to know Nico Palania and not have loved him, and his loss is inexpressibly awful.

Merly Propper

June 13, 2019


Kitty Wagner

June 12, 2019

My heart is breaking to hear of the sudden passing of Nico. He was a wonderful student in my junior high Social Studies classes at St. Albert the Great. He was hard working, curious and charming at the same time. Just a delight to have in class! In his years after St. Albert he always made a point of speaking to me when we saw each other at church or around town. He would bring me up to date on his life and his sister’s activities. It was evident he loved her very much. I am so sorry I cannot attend the funeral since I am out of town. Be assured Nico’s family and extended family are in my prayers. The world has lost a beautiful soul.

Naomi Oliphant

June 12, 2019

My heart goes out to Nico’s friends and family. Thought I only knew him this past year, I was impressed with his talent and improvement which he showed in his piano studies. I will always remember his musical performance on the April studio recital. I am in Europe at the moment, and unable to attend the funeral, but did want to express my deepest sympathies and am grateful I knew Nico during the past year.

Naomi Oliphant, Keyboard Area Coordinator, University of Louisville School of Music

Bethany Wilker

June 11, 2019

Nico was such a warm soul. He was one of those people you instantly felt happy around. I always walked away smiling after seeing him; he was a true friend. He will be dearly missed. Sending my love and prayers in this difficult time

Vernon Cherrix

June 11, 2019

So very sorry for your loss. Nico was a ray of sunshine in my piano studio. I always looked forward to his lessons while he was studying with me prior to his going to college.

Maria (Chacha) Rivera

June 11, 2019

.........So sorry and so sad to hear about your loving son, Nico...........hugs and prayers to you and loved ones. May you live many years to remember his memory eternal. Just think of Nico as resting from sorrows and the tears in a place of warmth and comfort where there are no days and years......REST IN PERFECT PEACE NICO!

Tawag & Rivera family of Minnesota

Nalia Bauer

June 10, 2019

Nico was one of the few students I befriended while my short time as security for YPAS. Despite all my efforts not to befriend him, he saw through my tough disguise and made me smile everytime I saw him. Not once in the halls of YPAS did I not notice his talent, beautiful light, and smile. I didn't have to get after him,..... or is it he just charmed his way out? One of the mysteries of life I guess. I will forever carry him in my heart and thoughts, and I am thankful to have crossed paths with such a wonderful soul. May we all strive to be as clever and whimsical.

Sara Cameron-Ragazzo

June 10, 2019

I will treasure the many memories I have of Nico in our home growing up alongside Will and many of the St. Albert boys. Nico was a very talented, generous and kind young man with a "light up the room" smile we will never forget! The world will be different without him. Our family is still processing this sudden and tragic death and we can only imagine the pain among the extended Palania family. We know God will heal in time...until then, we hope the support of friends and family who loved Nico will help get you through those long days. We send our blessings to all.