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Mary Jane Nicolaisen

November 25, 1928 - May 13, 2017

Mary Scharlach Nicolaisen, age 88, passed away Saturday, May 13, 2017 at home in Overland Park, Kansas after a 17-year battle with myelofibrosis and leukemia.


Mary attended Buffalo High School in Buffalo, NY.  She then received a Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Technology from the University of Buffalo and Buffalo General Hospital where she worked as a certified Med Tech before retiring to raise her family.  A lifelong Presbyterian, Mary was always active in her church congregation and served as an Ordained Deacon at Stamford Presbyterian Church in Connecticut and Webster Presbyterian Church in Houston Texas for many years.  Learning about the world and giving back to each community in which she lived was important to Mary.  She was a Scout leader for over 10 years in New York and Connecticut working later as a troop organizer for over 500 girls and 50 adult leaders.  She was also involved in other community organizations including The Northmore Study Club of Kenmore & Tonawonda and the Garden Club of Clear Lake City, serving as President of each organization.  She was a member of the Houston Asia Society, and American Association of University Women.


She and her husband Bernard, lived all across the United States in New York, Connecticut, Texas and Kansas.  In retirement, they loved to travel across the country and overseas, learning about history and other cultures and enjoyed attending opera and symphony events everywhere they lived.  She loved the outdoors, hiking, camping and reflecting on the glory of the world’s beauty.


Mary is preceded in death by her husband of 64 years, Bernard Nicolaisen, her parents Clyde and Lois Scharlach, and her brother Robert Scharlach.


She is survived by three daughters Karen Atwood (Rick), Sandy Axel (Jeff), and Marcia Contreras (Dan); 6 grandchildren:  Captain David Axel USMC, Lieutenant Michael Axel USN (Taylor), Daniel Axel, Chris Contreras, Lieutenant Abigail Axel MD USN, and James Contreras; one great-granddaughter Lily Axel, nephew David Scharlach and niece Julie Rickerman.


A funeral memorial was held at Knox Presbyterian Church.  She will be interred at the Willamette National Cemetery in Portland Oregon on Tuesday May 23, 2017 at 9am.


In lieu of flowers the family requests donations to the Children’s Book Bank “A Story Like Mine” project; or 2680 SW Ravensview Drive, Portland OR 97201.

Service Information

Service Information

Date: Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Time: 09:00 am

Willamette National Cemetery


11800 SE Mt Scott Blvd
Portland, Oregon 97086

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