Nicole Insalago Slionys was born July 27, 1978 at Big Bear Village in the mountains of Southern California to Joseph Insalago and Penny Lewis Insalago.
She was raised in Idyllwild, a mountain town above Palm Springs. She went to high school in Hemet and moved to Arcata to attend Humboldt State.
She left behind her son Adam Slionys, two brothers, Chris Overton of Sacramento and David Redlus of Sunland, Calif. and uncles Dante Insalago of Mt. Carmel, Tennessee and Jim Lewis of Medford, Oregon.
During the last five years Nicole and Bud Miller lived in McKinleyville in a home that was constantly visited by children and grandchildren. The backyard of their home is part of a wetland and she loved the frequent visits of a fox, a raccoon and a possum. A deer family are often seen and on one occasion Nicole was sunning in the yard and a fawn wandered over and nuzzled her. The fawn was unafraid of her and often slept on the lawn.
Nicole lived in Hawaii for a year as a teenager and became an avid boater and swimmer. While living in McKinleyville, she loved the pier and beach at nearby Trinidad, where she took Adam swimming and earlier had worked preparing crab pots for crab season.
In Idyllwild she loved climbing the nearby mountains. She once climbed the “off limits” Little Head next to the pier in Trinidad.
She once managed local shoe shops and had beautiful shoes and Italian boots she had bought at factory price. They stayed like new because she wore an old duct-taped pair daily.
Nicole loved garage sales and bought a pair of “like new” boots and bragged “I just paid five dollars for these 200 dollar Italian boots.”
She loved the morning teamwork on crossword puzzles and cooking Italian dinners she learned how to cook from her grandmother.
Nicole had many friends. On an overnight visit to Idyllwild, old friends, seeing Nicole on the street, greeted her, and she introduced them to Bud. Later she would test Bud, asking “Do you remember John you met in Idyllwild?” Bud, who had met so many, always answered “Was he the one in the red shoes?”
Due to her teacher’s training at HSU, Nicole was always ready with art material when grandkids visited. She was very proud of her son Adam. She was never happier than when Adam and Bud’s grandson Vlad were with her on outings to places like the Eureka zoo.
Nicole’s vibrant presence is missed as well as the daily crossword puzzle teamwork and her many cute facial expressions she made unawarely.
She made great Italian dinners that she learned to cook from her Italian grandmother, but confessed once that her grandmother, when cooking for a crowd, would cheat and buy frozen pasta and add her “secret ingredients,” so Bud was never sure which one was being served.
Bud, her brothers and all of both families and their friends will greatly miss the feisty presence of Nicole in our lives.
Nicole’s family and friends will hold a memorial on Feb 24. Call (707) 496-0703.