Our beautiful and beloved Nicole “Niki” Louise Kreis passed away peacefully on Sunday, August 22nd. She was a loving mother, daughter, sister and forever friend. Everyone who knew Nicole loved her zest for life, her positive attitude and her strength. One of her most memorable qualities was her infectious laugh, Nicole loved to make the people around her smile and could always be counted on to bring many laugh-out-loud moments.
In everyday life, Nicole was focused on her loving relationship with Jesus and she took that very seriously. Nicole cherished her alone time and independence, but she sure did love spending time with friends, family, and especially her boys. Nicole’s health has been hard on her for a while now, but her desire and passion was to be there with her boys and watch them become men. Nicole was so proud of Caleb and Ephraim and the young men that they are becoming.
Nicole’s story started on April 20, 1977, when she was born to Susan and James Manti at St. Francis Hospital. She grew up on the south side of Milwaukee (10th and Oklahoma) with her mother, father, and older sister. This is where she was able to meet her group of very closely-knit friends that have been with her since childhood. Her love and talent for art brought her to Milwaukee High School of the Arts and she graduated in 1995.
After high school, Nicole obtained a job at Things Remembered where she excelled and became a manager. Nicole’s great work ethic and maturity resulted in her working full-time and moving out at the young age of 18. A few years later, Niki decided to turn her love of children into a career and she became certified as a daycare worker. During this time, Nicole met and married her former husband, but still a friend and loved one, Dean Kreis. Dean and Nicole raised two beautiful children together, Caleb and Ephraim were her greatest source of joy. Unfortunately, they lost their third son, Solomon Timothy, in 2007 due to miscarriage but Nicole has been reunited with him in Heaven.
Nicole continued to follow her passion and she graduated from UW-Milwaukee with a bachelor’s degree in Education. After graduating, Nicole taught elementary school on the southside of Milwaukee for several years. Upon achieving her Special Education certification from Lakeland College, Nicole worked at Bay View High School as a special education teacher. Nicole loved her job and felt it was her calling in life. Because of Nicole’s understanding of trauma, trials, and tribulations, she was gifted in her role and had many close relationships with students that trusted her and confided in her. Nicole also took an extra side gig serving at Transfer Pizzeria and Cafe in Bay View. Nicole developed many great friendships at Transfer and was a cherished and valued member of the staff because of her work ethic and amazing personality.
Nicole’s love for children was evident in her relationships with her own children, her relationships with her students, and in the way that all her friend’s children looked at her as Auntie Nicole. She had a heart for foster care and adoption, believing that all children deserve to feel deeply loved. Most people know that Nicole had a close relationship with her God and Jesus. She loved doing bible studies, loved to worship and sing His songs; she relied on God’s word to see her through and believed in the power of prayer. She trusted Him in every way. Nicole always desired to continue to grow as a Christian and do God’s work. In 2014, Nicole took a mission trip to Rwanda. She was extremely grateful for her experiences and always wanted to go back to continue her work there. That trip filled her heart.
Nicole was also an excellent listener, which is why she had so many great friends. Going to her for advice and to talk was always easy and felt natural because she had wisdom. In addition to Niki’s deliberate, genuine and sincere dedication to others, she also had a playful and feisty side. She loved dancing and all kinds of music, but her favorite dance move was the “Biz Markie”. Whenever she did this move she would get this look on her face like “this is my jam!” Needless to say, it brought many laughs. Niki also loved a good movie or series; she really liked to just chill and get into a story.
Niki was so fun and loved socializing with friends and family. This is where she thrived, just being around others and sharing stories and laughing. To know Nicole was to love her, but if she had a problem with something you knew that too. She didn’t pull any punches and could be very stubborn. But she never held grudges, never judged people and had a deep understanding for the human condition. She just loved people and they loved her.
Nicole was an animal lover, she especially loved her cats Peanut, Butterbean, Lulu and Omar. They are definitely missingher. She also loved to cook and bake as well. Niki loved to try different foods and recipes, so cooking was just another artistic outlet for her. She was a creative personality and she loved color. Anytime you saw Nicole, her outfits, makeup and nails were always very colorful and unique, just like her. Her personality drew people to her, her passion and energy were contagious to everyone she met.
Nicole is survived by her mother, Susan Manti (Uran); her two sons, Caleb Abraham Kreis and Ephraim Brandon Kreis; her sister, Nina Marie Bütt (Manti); her brother-in-law Nate Bütt; her nephews, Ethan Bütt and Liam Bütt; and an amazingly large group of loyal and loving friends. She is predeceased by her son Solomon Timothy Kreis, and her father James Anthony Manti.
Nicole’s Celebration of Life service will be at Saturday, August 28th at 8:30 a.m. at Harvest Community Church at 6612 South Howell Ave., Oak Creek. Please consider a gift of money for her sons in lieu of flowers. All checks can be made out to Nina Bütt, her sister. For those that cannot attend the service, cards and/or checks for the family can be mailed to Harvest Community Church. Anyone wanting to give a gift of money to her boy's fund can also do so through PayPal @ email@example.com.
If sending through PayPal, I kindly as that you remember to send as "friends and family." Thank you from Nicole's family.
For those who are unable to attend the celebration of life here is a link to live stream event:
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Nicole "Niki" Kreis, please visit our floral store.