Ruth Mary Holmes Nissen of Eau Claire, WI died peacefully on January 31, 2016. She was born November 23, 1923 in Eau Claire, WI.

She spent her long life giving to others; in her youth, it was with her extended family around the Eau Claire area, and then for her country as a WAC in WWII. Her care for others and God’s creation led her to work with the Girl Scouts and share that love with her children and students. She married Frederick Nissen on August 21, 1948 and after they graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1949 they settled in Iowa. In Iowa they shared in a love of nature as they raised their three children. She taught elementary school for many years and created an outdoor education program to include environmental education in her classroom activities. After retiring from teaching she continued her love of the outdoors, especially birds, moving first to Northern Wisconsin then to Mountain Home, AR. Along with caring for her family she also gave to her church family sending notes and sharing food. In her final years she gave smiles to those who cared for her.

She is survived by her two daughters, Catherine Lowery (Burrell) of North Andover, Massachusetts and Deborah Nissen of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin; grandchildren, Drew Lowery(Laura Anne), Michael Nissen(Brittany) Astra Lowery(D Lydennepen), Mike Magrath, and Carolyn Nissen; great grandchildren, Elliot and Jimmy Lowery; daughter-in-law, Kate Magrath; brother-in-law, Richard Alf; as well as many cousins, nieces, and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, Fred; her son, Mark; and her sisters, Helen Rentenaar and Marion Alf.

A memorial service will be held at English Lutheran Church of Bateman on Monday, February 8, 2016 at 10:00AM. Visitation will be an hour prior to the service at the church. Her ashes will be interred next to Fred in Mountain Home, AR at a later date.

In lieu of flowers the family request memorials be made to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America ministries. (

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