Late last night, we learned of the passing of Nola “Nolamom” Shingledecker, a longtime Stargate fan, recent Dark Matter fan, and a member of this blog’s community since the very beginning.  Her friend and fellow San Antonian, baterista9, forwarded the following:

“This is a very hard post to write…On July 12, 2016 my wife passed away in her sleep. This has been a difficult time for the whole family…I want to thank those who have helped with their words of support…I have tried to contact everyone who’s numbers I have. I hope this post will reach those I have been unable to call…She was a teacher at Taft High School in NISD for 20 years and her passing will impact this district greatly…She got her degree and master degree from UTSA and became a full time teacher in 1999. She was so excited about the upcoming year’s classes. As per her request, her remains were sent to Texas State University to further educate students in the field of Forensics…She was a very good person and there is not enough space to cover the positive impact she made during her life…She will be missed…”

This morning, I went through Nola’s posts dating back to December of 2006 and noted how much of her personality came through in those comments, and how well we got to know her over these many years.  Often, it’s the small strokes that paint the bigger picture…

She had a BA and an MA in history.

She was married to an architectural designer for 45 years.

She loved dogs, especially yorkies, and was incredibly supportive of my Maximus and Jelly through their various health issues and final days.

She loved pecans, berries, lobster, clam chowder, spaetzle with tenderloin, wild boar sausages (which she made after her husband’s hunting trips), Hungarian food, prawns, souffle, dim sum, shish kebab, a good Philly cheesesteak, and the Kahlua truffles her daughter would make (especially for her!) at Christmas but…

She hated beets after polishing off a bowl of them as a child.  Also, not a fan of turkey sausage, melons, San Antonio summers, networking, zombies, or internet trolls.

She was a big fan Anne McCaffrey, the original Willy Wonka (showing clips to her economics classes to illustrate the factors of production: Oompaloompas as labor and Willie as entrepreneur),  Star Trek: The Original Series (using the episode “Charlie X” to illustration the socialization process, or lack thereof, to her sociology class), Gary Larson’s The Far Side, and her Dallas Cowboys.

She eschewed gift cards (which she considered cop-outs) in favor of good old-fashioned personal shopping for the ones on her list.

She was a self-avowed “sportscar person” who would often tell her economics students that, if she were rich, she would have a Lamborghini.

And some of the comments she left on this blog that really gave us a sense of who she was:

“Everyone should know the name of the custodian who cleans their office (or in my case, classroom) and treat them with the same respect that they treat their boss. ”

“One of the best things you can do is to cultivate the people who are least noticed. These are the folks who are unsung, but who may do so much in the long run. I’m a teacher. What does it cost me to get to know the custodial staff? Nothing. Maybe a breakfast taco now and again or a dozen doughnuts a couple times a year. What does it benefit me? Myriad ways – little things like getting the best new pencil sharpener installed the same day as mentioning that my pencil sharpener is lousy…having loads of boxes of paper delivered to the copy room without having to ask (yes, it would seem that this is is given -NOT) Having your classroom given extra attention so that things are dusted and vacuumed regularly (not the case for everyone) And the smiles of all of them – knowing that I acknowledge their hard work which is almost universally unsung. Are these folks ever going to be in a position to help me “on the way up”? Unlikely. Although I did have some cafeteria ladies talk to the principal about how they’d like to have me as an administrator.

Everyone in an organization contributes to the end product, no matter how humble their job. If a person wants to make their workload lighter (in the long-run obviously) be kind to EVERYONE who makes your job possible.”

“Akemi did a lovely job on the beef – it’s the oven’s fault if it’s not done enough for you.”

“Whatever time Maximus has left he will spend with the one who loves him most, this is important.”

“Lovely Thanksgiving here, and my Cowboys win in the last 3 seconds! Excellent food, family and friends and a good game to boot. Today the two grandmas, my daughter, and my granddaughter go for our annual pilgrimage to see the Nutcracker ballet. Tis the season!”

“… Talk about a hard candy Christmas! But it was probably our most thankful one – we had much to appreciate in each other and within our family grew stronger.”

“It’s been a good Christmas here in South Texas. We had 15 over today for a huge pot of vegetable beef soup and the present exchange. Everything from the youngest 4 year old grandson to my 87 year old mother in law were present and had a good time. It was a bit crazy, but joyous.”

“I woke up one more time – each day is a gift.”

Donations can also be made in her name to FACTS (Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State) instead of flowers.

42 thoughts on “July 19, 2016: Farewell to a member of our extended blog family

  1. I am so sorry to hear of Nola’s passing. I remember many of her posts that you quoted. My deepest condolences to her family and friends. 🙁

  2. I never met her in person but I’ve known her for years through the Stargate fandom. She was kind, funny and a huge Sam/Jack shipper. I will miss her deeply. My condolences to her family.

  3. A lovely, warm farewell Joe, as only you could write. Thank you so much for the memories shared. I do remember many of her posts too.
    Nolamom was a grand lady. May God rest her dear soul and comfort her family and friends.


  4. A beautiful tribute. Her words paint a picture of a very lovely, kind, thoughtful person. My deepest sympathy and condolences to her family and to those who knew and loved her.

  5. Joe. Thank you so much for sharing her previous posts. She was indeed such a beautiful soul and one of the finest educators any student could ask for . ~may she live in all our hearts forever~

  6. So sorry to hear about Nola, I remember reading her posts. Condolences to her family and friends.

  7. What a lovely tribute.
    I’m sorry I never got to know Nola.
    My sympathies to her husband, family and friends.

  8. That’s so sad.. RIP Nola.


    I didn’t know her either. As someone who has commented here for quite a while too, it’s mostly due to the timing of when I post, and by the time I’m able to view the blog again, a new post is there anyways. Nothing against anyone here, it’s a great community, but I don’t read comments much at all.

  9. Just had a call from Skip Shingledecker, who very much appreciates this post and your sentiments.

    Joe, Skip would like to send you an email; may I share your address?

  10. Hey Joe,

    Thanks so much for this lovely tribute to “our” Nola. I’ve been away from your blog and GW in general, but Nola and I kept up on FB and through private messaging and I’m simply heartbroken to hear the news.

    Thanks again for sharing some of Nola’s wonderful spirit and humor with your fans and extended community.

  11. Thoughts and prayers for Nola “Nolamom”, her husband, family, and friends. That name goes way back. I too remember some of those posts you quoted. It is sad losing one of your blog family Joe. My sympathies to all her family and friends.

  12. So sad!! You wrote a lovely tribute to a lovely lady, Joe. My condolences to all who knew and loved her.


  13. My deepest sympathies to Nola’s family and friends, a very touching post today.

  14. Speaking of beautiful tributes to our amazing fellow humans…
    @JeffT Got your message. Glad you could join us mon ami. 😎 ❤
    We are going to begin brain storming ideas August 5th
    So please be sure to send whatever
    Email box you want to use for group discussions this week to
    As i mentioned before Just remember to let me know its you to ensure I don’t mistake you for a spammer or Joe posing as a blog regular. LOL! 😀

    @Ceresis Got it. Sent ya a reply. xo

  15. Aww such a sweet tribute. My sympathies to her friends and family. That was nice of you to post Joe.

  16. It’s so sad to hear this. I remember seeing her comments over the years, and she was always funny and kind.

    My condolences to her family and friends.

  17. Sorry to hear of Nola’s passing – I love this quote

    “Everyone should know the name of the custodian who cleans their office (or in my case, classroom) and treat them with the same respect that they treat their boss. ”

    lovely words Joe, very eloquent.

    xo Marian

  18. @Tam Joe’s beautiful reminder of Nola’s words has once again caused my daily thoughts and quiet prayers for Jo to surface from the depths. Have you heard from her this week at all?

  19. Thank you for sharing.

    Nola’s quotes show an incredibly sincere person who will be missed by her family, friends and the many people she interacted with. My favorite quote is the same as Forest Maid: “Everyone should know the name of the custodian who cleans their office (or in my case, classroom) and treat them with the same respect that they treat their boss.” I wish I had known her – she would have been a good friend.

  20. Drea: Nola showed a lot of wisdom, humor and humility in her posts. I wish I’d known her better. She does remind me of Dr Jo. Dr Jo is cancer free at this moment. They had to take out part of her right jaw. The swelling is down, so that part of her face is distressing her somewhat. Later, if she stays cancer free through several more scans, they go back and couture the face (possibly adding bone taken from her leg). Friday she “might” get her feeding tube out and eat real food. There are lots of “if’s and maybe’s”. Thanks for asking about her! I’ll quote Nola: “I woke up one more time – each day is a gift.”

  21. Wonderful tribute to Nola, Joe. This blog is a very cool virtual diner full of some lovely folks. It’s amazing to see the new fans and old fans mix so well here, now if we can only spread that sense of community to the rest of the globe the world would be a better place.

    Last night as I was dozing off I remembered Akemi’s Stranger Things nightmare and I chuckled, then I remembered that movie It Follows and ended up having bad dreams of my own. Are nightmares contagious? Tonight I’ll watch something cuddly like Zootopia to keep bad dreams away.

  22. Thanks for such a great tribute to Nola, Joe. There are a lot of us that are daily readers of your blog, but we rarely read all the comments, too, which doesn’t endear us to the other regulars as much as we’d like. You get to read everything and get to know those that regularly post pretty well. Thank you for sharing some of her posts that showed her heart and who she really was in life. I have a feeling she impacted many more people in her years of teaching than anyone could ever imagine. The greatest teachers always leave an indelible mark on their students that they’ll never forget. She’ll live on in the hearts and minds of those she impacted as a teacher, and those that knew and loved her.

    My condolences to the friends and family.
    -Mike A.

  23. 😳 Meant Conture not Couture. I really have to start paying attention. 🙁

  24. Oh wow, I am so sorry to hear this. 🙁 I didn’t know her, but this is a lovely tribute. She sounds like someone I would have gotten along with. Thank you for the lovely words about her. So sad.

  25. What a beautiful post Joe. As someone who sees death as her constant companion it’s comforting to see the impact we have on those around us while we are here. The whole left by those we love never get smaller, the wounds never heal, but with each breath, each minute our perspective changes.

  26. My condolences to Nola’s family. She sounded like someone who truly loved life.

  27. That was awesome of you to go back through her posts and remind us of all her nuggets of wisdom and humor.

    Once again I want to send my deepest condolences to Nola’s friends and family.

    She goes to meet up with Kelly & Cheryl.

  28. Just was told today by one of her former students. I was a substitute teacher at Taft HS for about 8 years and had the pleasure of knowing and subbing for this special lady.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.