Nile Warren Soik leaves a proud heritage of service to his country as a military officer, service to the state of Wisconsin as a legislator, and service to his community. He can be remembered for the rich, full life he led; for the things he accomplished through the years; for the thoughtfulness, warmth, and unselfishness he exuded; and for making a positive difference in the lives of so many people.
Nile was born the middle son of Felix and Gertrude Soik in Milwaukee, WI. He spent many summers on his grandfather's farm in northern Wisconsin and many weekends working in the Koch and Neuman greenhouses near his home in Milwaukee.
His achievements in high school were many. He was a member of the National Honor Society, editor of the high school newspaper, a member of the choir, active in the chess, math and debate clubs, and elected to Badger Boys State for two years, which laid the background for his interest in the political arena.
Senator Alexander Wiley of Wisconsin appointed Nile to West Point, where he became president of the Chess Club, a member of the Skeet Club, and Camera Club, and a rifle marksman, machine gunner, and a pistol sharpshooter. He graduated in the top ten percent of his class. After graduation, he served in the Army Corps of Engineers in the Philippines until his retirement for disability as a first lieutenant in 1948.
Nile went on to earn a master’s in business administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As a student, he met his future wife, Carol Swanson, at The Hoofers, an outdoor club, where they enjoyed a great many sports activities, especially skiing and sailing. Nile and Carol married on 19 Aug 1950 and were blessed with three wonderful sons: Peter, Matthew, and Paul. The family was saddened by Peter’s death in 1999, but the family grew as wedding bells joined Matthew to Ruby and Paul to Tracy last summer. Matthew and Ruby have two children: six-year-old Samuel and three-year-old Amber.
All of his life, Nile was a sports enthusiast as well as a seasoned traveler. He not only visited almost every state in his beloved United States of America but also travelled all around the world on annual cruises and tours since 1989.
Nile began his civilian career working for the Allen-Bradley Company in Milwaukee, a manufacturer of quality motor controls and electronic components. He also taught various evening courses at Marquette University in the College of Business Administration, Cardinal Stritch University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, and Lakeland College.
Nile also was active in many community activities: memberships in the Silver Spring Masonic Lodge; Tripoli Temple; North Shore American Legion Post; Fox Point Lutheran Church as a councilman, lector, and Stephen Minister; and the American Society of Training Directors. For years he volunteered as a Boy Scout leader (all three of his sons are Eagle Scouts), a delegate to his church’s Synod Conventions, and on Helpline, a seven-day-a-week telephone hotline providing free, anonymous, and confidential information and referral sources for a callers topic.
Nile was elected to the Wisconsin State Legislature in 1961, serving as a Republican assemblyman for eight years and as a Senator for four years. After Nile’s death in August of 2001, the State Senate and Assembly unanimously passed Senate Resolution 49 relating to Nile’s life and public service. In that resolution, his right to die with dignity was mentioned. Although he discussed that topic before it became an issue, 12 years later the state of Wisconsin adopted the living-will legislation, which paralleled his earlier bill. That resolution also noted that Nile strongly believed in the traditions of integrity, excellence, sacrifice, and self-discipline. He also was commended for his devotion as a public servant.
The ideals Nile learned while a member of the Long Gray Line sustained him all of his life. Quoting one man he worked with while in the State Legislature, "Nile was one of the most honorable, high-caliber legislators that I have ever worked with." Perhaps this is one of the reasons he was known as the "White Knight" in Madison. Another close friend ofhis said, "Nile was one of those rare people who constantly stood up for his principles and had the respect of all of his colleagues."
Nile was a patriot who loved his country. His military bearing stood out, emphasizing his strong character. Let it be said, Nile’s course on earth was, well done.