ALEXANDER, NICHOLLA ALEXA NATALIE, 54, of Cambria Heights, NY on July 9, 2019.
Nicholla Alexa Natalie Alexander was born on Good Friday, April 16 in Montego Bay, Jamaica. She was a fierce baby, and people used to tease her just to watch her react. She never disappointed. The opening song for Back to the Bible, a daily radio show truly impressed her as a baby, because still in her crib, she woke the entire household every morning, singing “I love to tell the ‘tory of Deesus and his love!” at the top of her lungs, to the annoyance of her parents who were trying to get just a little more sleep.
She gave her heart to the Lord when she was four years old, and never once wavered or strayed from serving Him. At six years old, her teacher asked her how she would react if a classmate bothered her. Her instant reply was, “Tell Jesus.” Her teacher couldn’t tell Nikki not to do so, but also made her promise to tell HER as well. At age 8, she announced she wanted to be either a missionary or a beautician, and asked her brother if he would follow her into the mission field.
As an early teen, she hated wearing glasses and begged our parents for contacts. They consented – but she had to wait until she was 16. So she walked the school halls blind as a bat until she got those contacts.
She was accepted into a gifted academic program in sixth grade and continued after junior high to the School of International Studies, an elite program at Hillcrest High School. Nikki was fashion-forward; she read Vogue avidly and would alter her clothes herself to emulate the styles she researched, many times with truly outlandish results. Some of her peers ridiculed her shamelessly; each time they did so, in six months, they all ended up dressing just like her. She paid them no attention; she had already moved on to the next fashion phase.
In high school, Nikki wanted to perfect the Spanish she was learning, so when a Dominican family moved in across the street, she hung out with their auntie (who spoke no English) until she was fluent in Spanish. That was Nikki: determined. She later used that knowledge as a translator when she went to El Salvador in 1989 with Highland Church on a missions trip.
Nikki went to Evangel College in Springfield, Missouri, where she was a Member of Sigma Delta Phi, as well as the National Spanish Honor Society. She majored in Psychology, minored in Sociology and Spanish, and graduated with her Bachelor’s degree. She started tutoring college students in remedial English, and moved on quickly to ESL instructor. She earned her Masters in Linguistics from New York University, and went off to Barcelona for three years, teaching English and working with professionals as a Phonetics Expert. She really did put that Spanish to good use! She returned to the States, and started teaching part-time English and Literature classes at LaGuardia Community College, as an Adjunct, and part-time ESL classes in the evening.
Nikki was a fierce fighter, with burning ambition, and total determination to succeed. When I was living in France, she came and stayed with me for about three months, and left with a functional knowledge of French (spoken and written). On her own, she later studied Greek and Hebrew. She was a donor; her generosity after death will help people with bone cancer, firefighters and other burn victims.
In 1994, while still teaching, Nikki was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and later schizophrenia and after multiple hospitalizations, spent two years at Creedmoor Psychiatric Center. During her years of illness, she prayed for others wherever she was, witnessed to them, and never left a stranger without saying, “Jesus loves you.”
She was released early this year to independent living. She spent weekends with us and we all traveled on multiple vacations to New Orleans and Texas, visiting Austin, Houston and San Antonio on one memorable trip. We got to spend some time as a family and to enjoy ourselves with her before she died, and we are forever grateful. Nikki and TJ shared a special bond, spending much time together in or out of the hospital, and always up to see a good movie.
Nicholla leaves behind her heartbroken family: her mother, brother and sister, niece, and many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. Our only consolation is that she is suffering no more, and that she is with Daddy and her Uncle Brian in the Presence of the Lord.
A Homegoing Celebration will be held on Tuesday, July 30th at 10:00 AM at Highland Church, 160-20 Highland Avenue, Jamaica, NY 11432
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