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Jill Nissila

February 24, 2022

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Obituary

Jill Eileen (Grossnicklaus) Nissila, age 68, died in Milwaukie, OR after living with metastasized Breast Cancer.

She was born and raised in Corvallis, OR and attended Oregon State University where she met her husband Peter Nissila. Pete and Jill married December 30, 1977. Jill graduated from Portland State University in 1984 with a BS in Arts and Letters. They moved to Pete’s hometown of Hancock in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in 1984 to assume ownership and management of his family’s business Nissila Greenhouses, Inc.  After twenty-five years they sold the business and returned to Oregon in 2009 to reside in Roseburg.

            Jill was known for her faith in Jesus Christ and encouraging people to pray.  She strived to be an advocate, coach, initiator/strategic thinker, journalist, marketing specialist, and photographer with a good sense of fun and humor, together with much gratitude and joy.  She used these capabilities throughout her life particularly as co-owner and operations manager of the family greenhouse business.  She also served as Assistant to the Director of New Creation Ministries in Houghton, Michigan; freelance writer for the Houghton Daily Mining Gazette, and assisted her husband Pete in his position as the director of the Oregon Association of Nurserymen.

            She earned her Master Gardener designation in Michigan and a certificate of Floral Design from the American Floral Art School in Chicago, IL.  She served as editor of a cookbook designed for fundraising for Zion Lutheran Church (Hancock, MI) and taught floral design during the Summer Youth Program at Michigan Technological University.  Jill blogged about her husband Pete’s journey through his cancer experience and recently about her time in hospice.  When not working or volunteering she enjoyed writing, gardening, reading, beadwork, photography, scrapbooking and baking.

         Jill was originally stricken with Breast Cancer in 2001; after treatment, the disease went into remission.  She gained a depth of knowledge, empathy and resilience relating to cancer after giving care first to her brother-in-law Ed, and then to her husband Peter, who died in 2012 from complications of Myeloid Leukemia and a stem cell transplant.

            She is survived by three sisters: Koren Hughes, Vernon, B.C., Canada; Heidi (Mark) Spilde, Corvallis, OR; and  Alison Grossnicklaus, Springfield, OR.  Two brothers: Reed Grossnicklaus (Debbie Berrow) of Creswell, OR., Kevin (Carmen) Grossnicklaus, of Salem, OR. and brother-in-law Ken Bjornback.  Also by nieces: Kara O’Halloran (Chris, deceased); Marcie Schellenberg; Gillian Schellenberg; and Faith Grossnicklaus. Nephews: Aaron Barrett; Rudy Grossnicklaus; Alexander Spilde. Two great nieces Laila Buczynski and Lola Shellenberg; and many dear friends.  She was predeceased by her father Eugene Grossnicklaus, husband Peter Nissila, sister Leslie Bjornbak, and her mother Opal Grossnicklaus.

            Services for Jill Nissila will be Saturday, March 19th, at 11:00 am at Pilgrim Lutheran Church, Beaverton, OR.  with Rev. Tim Brand officiating and Andrea Gehrke speaking.  Michigan Services will be at Zion Lutheran Church, Hancock, Michigan in late June with Jesse Aho officiating; Gerry Southerton and Katherine Salmi speaking.  Interment will be at the Nissila family lot, Lakeside Cemetery, Hancock.  

Donations to  Pilgrim Lutheran Church, Beaverton OR; Providence Cancer Institute: Franz Clinic, Portland, OR; St. Paul Lutheran Church, Roseburg, OR; Zion Lutheran Church or Inter-Lutheran Seminary in Hancock, Michigan. Donating blood and stem cells is encouraged.

 

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