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Tamara "Tami" J. Nickerson

November 16, 1972 October 19, 2017
Tamara "Tami" J. Nickerson
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Obituary for Tamara "Tami" J. Nickerson

Tamara Janell Nickerson came into this world on November 16, 1972 and passed on October 19, 2017. She is survived by her daughter Kayla, father Darrell Nickerson (Brooke), mother Deanna Rathbun, sister Rhonda Tonkinson (Rusty), brother Darren Nickerson (Tanya), grandmother Bettye Rathbun, niece Alexis Radcliff, great niece Lilly Radcliff, nephew Keith Nickerson, niece Diana Nickerson, numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. Preceded by grandparents Keith and Luella Nickerson, grandfather Bob Rathbun, uncle Wilbur Nickerson, uncle Tim Rathbun, and cousin Misty Lynn Miller.

She always went by Tami. She was tiny, and adorable. She already had two siblings waiting for her, a sister Rhonda Leigh, and a brother Darren Keith. She was the youngest of 5 grandchildren to Bettye and Bob Rathbun for the longest time. Tami had an infectious smile and attitude. The world was a much different place at that time, in which it was not so rushed, and families spent lots of time together. There was not a lot of money to go out to fancy dinners or fancy excursions, so her family made their own dinners; got together for every occasion, every family members birthday, Easter, Mother’s Day, Fourth of July etc. Since Tami was the youngest, she had to persuade her cousins, and siblings to include her in their play. She loved to play Barbies, dolls, make blanket forts at Aunt Robin’s and play board games. When things were not going her way, her wails were quite loud coming from such a tiny girl. She would hold her breath until she turned blue. It was scary at the time, but something she could laugh about later in life. She loved the occasional family dinner at Tortilla Flats, their chile rellenos (which she later in life worked to perfect her own recipe), and their sopapillas were her favorites. She also enjoyed family camping trips which is where we found a stray dog, took him home and named him Midnight. That may be where she discovered that she liked to eat mud. Thank goodness she outgrew that quickly. When Tami was 4 1/2 years old, she developed a tumor on her bone in her forearm. She required surgery which was a big deal back then. She was a real trooper. Her father surprised her with a beagle puppy named Junior.

Tami attended elementary school at Dutch Creek Elementary. It was during those years, that Misty Lynn was born to her Aunt Robin and Uncle Bill. She was no longer the youngest! Tami was close to Misty and protective. They later had a very special, close relationship. She attended Junior high at Ken Caryl Jr. High, and Deer Creek Junior High. School was not her favorite as she had too many friends and better things to do. She later went on to Chatfield Sr. High School. Throughout all of her school years, she had many friends, and kept contact with them into her adult years. Tami’s parents divorced during her adolescence, but she remained close with her mother and father, and later her step-mother Brooke. Tami was really into the 80’s hair bands like Motley Crue and Guns and Roses. She didn’t miss a chance to go to a concert.

When Tami was 20, she became pregnant with Kayla Lynn. She was excited with joy, and put in lots of preparation for Kayla’s birth. She was ecstatic and proud when Kayla arrived. Some time after Kayla’s birth, Tami had some struggles; there were some rough years. Tami worked harder than anyone our family had ever known, and found her way back. We couldn’t have been more proud of her. Nothing was more important to her than Kayla and her family. Tami was not just a mom she was a super mom. She gave the most important thing to Kayla that she could give…. Her time. They did so many fun activities together. They loved to watch the OC, Friends and Dateline. Tami was involved in Kayla’s academics, they went to concerts, to plays, had Kayla’s friends over for sleepovers, shopping etc. Tami didn’t date, Kayla was her life. They were as close as a mother and daughter could possibly be. Tami, her mother Dee, and Kayla all resided together, and were very close. In 2005 cousin Dee Dee’s dog Missy had puppies. Kayla begged Grandma for one of the puppies. Grandma was not too fond of dogs and really not fond of dogs in the house. She could not say no to Kayla though. They named their new puppy Maddie. Maddie was loved by everyone including Grandma Dee, but somehow she ended up being Tami’s dog. Tami treated her and spoiled her just like she did Kayla. Tami always looked forward to visits with her father and Brooke. They would plan playdates for Maddie and their dog Shiloh. That was always a special time for them.

In 1998, Tami was hired by Nations Search. Tami really enjoyed her job, and was proud of herself, as was her family. After all, she was our success story, and any and all of us would brag on her to anyone who would listen. She spent about 17 years working for Nations Search. She was also an avid Bronco fan. You could find her in her jersey yelling at the TV when they played. During those years Tami’s grandfather Bob, cousin Misty, and uncle Tim passed away. Tami was of tremendous support to her mother, Aunt Robin and the rest of the family. She was extremely close to Misty, and took it very hard. Every year on Mother’s Day, she sent a message, and made sure that Aunt Robin and Uncle Bill were sent some comfort. Tami’s Granny also started to take a toll in her health. For a long period of time, Tami would go over every Wednesday evening and have dinner with Granny, play Scrabble, socialize, whatever Granny felt like doing. Next, Kayla went off to college at CSU. Kayla was the first in her immediate family to attend college full time. That spoke volumes as to what a great positive impact Tami had in her daughter’s life. She missed Kayla when she left, but had regular visits, where they discovered Romas, one of their favorite Pizza places. She then moved on to yet another promotion, and worked for a family company JMC. While Kayla was at college, Maddie became ill and went blind but Tami never failed her, she was always there, and took her death in 2017 pretty hard. Kayla also graduated from CSU in 2017. Tami was very proud, and exclaimed, “that was the best Mother’s Day present I could ever ask for”. She really worked to keep her family/friend relationships strong and intact. Not long ago, Tami found it within her to adopt another dog; a rescue dog named Tinkerbell.

She had such a big heart and would do anything to help anyone. She always put others before herself and was always thoughtful and went the extra mile. Tami was the most wonderful mother, daughter, sister, and friend. She was so very special and loved by so many. She is in God’s hands now and we will always have our precious memories. Tami is gone too soon, she will be forever loved and missed by everyone.

Tami was a huge believer in the healing powers animals can provide us. Well-wishers may make contributions to Freedom Service Dogs of America at

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Previous Events





10:30 AM 10/27/2017 10:30:00 AM - 11:30 AM 10/27/2017 11:30:00 AM
The Chapel at Ellis Family Services

13436 West Arbor Place
Littleton, CO 80127

Celebration of Tami's Life with reception following services.

The Chapel at Ellis Family Services
13436 West Arbor Place Littleton 80127 CO
United States

Memorial Contribution

Freedom Service Dogs of America

7193 S. Dillon Ct.
Englewood, CO 80112

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