Hilda ‘Hildur’ Nelsen

MARQUETTE, MI – Hilda Eleanor Nelsen, 96, of 358 Harrison Street, Marquette, went to be with the LORD on Tuesday, January 08, 2013, following a short time at Genesys Convalescent Center after a brief hospital stay. Hildur was born in Ishpeming, Michigan on January 27, 1916, the daughter of August and Hilda Suomula. Hildur graduated from Ishpeming High School in 1934 and the former St. Luke’s School of Nursing in 1937. On July 29, 1939 she married Harry Karl Nelsen and they celebrated sixty-seven years of marriage prior to Harry’s death in March, 2007. Employed by St. Luke’s, then Marquette General Hospital, ultimately serving as Head Nurse on the Medical Unit, Hildur retired in 1979 after 23 years. She loved being a nurse and readily shared those skills with family, friends and in post- retirement volunteer work. She especially enjoyed traveling to Finland twice, to Florida for many winters, and countless day-trips with Harry and friends, enjoying the beauty of the Upper Peninsula.

To those who knew her well, “faith, family, and friends”, epitomized her life. Faith sustained Hildur and Harry as together they faced and overcame many difficult challenges; faith continued to sustain Hildur as she dealt with health issues in her final days. To anyone who met her, it was clear beyond a doubt that she loved her family and extended family – friends from her nursing days, those in Avon Park, Florida, the life-long friends at First Presbyterian Church in Marquette, her childhood friends, especially “the Helens”, her Harrison Street neighbors, and more recently, those she met at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Davison, Michigan. At St. Andrew’s she also continued to volunteer, co-hosting a weekly, “Knitting in the Word” mission project, making many of the hundreds of scarves, hats and gloves given to those in need. With Harry and then on her own, Hildur spent endless hours supporting and attending her 3 children’s, 7 grand- children’s and 12 great-grandchildren’s activities and in recent years has enjoyed close times with them down State. These bonds with “Mummu” were especially evident in multi- generational summer vacations and time spent at “camp” on Lake Superior.

Hildur is survived by son, Michael (Sherry) Nelsen of Winfield, Illinois, two daughters, Julianne (Thomas) Princinsky of Davison, Michigan and Miriam Nelsen of Kentwood, Michigan; seven grandchildren, Kristin (Erik) Sheline, Eric (Tracy) Nelsen, Stephen (Kristina) Princinsky, Paul Nelsen, Matthew (Siriluk) Princinsky, Sarah (Bradley) Brown, and Jessica Ross (Matthew Macklin); and twelve great grandchildren, Clara, Ava, and Amity Nelsen, Griffin and Amelia Sheline, Madison, Jacob and Mikayla Princinsky, Elena Princinsky, and Lily, Emily and Brady Brown, as well as Barbara (Andrew) Gooch, who “adopted” Hildur and Harry as grandparents and their four children, beloved cousin William (Rudy) (Lea) Niemisto, nephews, Dale Suomela, Mark Bernthal, Steve (Judy) Bernthal, Pete (Janet) Bernthal, William (Carolyn) Vickery, David Roos, niece Kay (Peter) Luce and niece-in-law Sally Suomela, and many great nieces and nephews. Special thanks to the St. Andrew’s Pastor Edward and Jeanette Borycz and the “Knitters”, Hospice, and Comfort Keepers, particularly, Sherry Holtzenkemper and Tammy Williams, who provided much appreciated support.

Hildur was preceded in death by husband, Harry, her parents, brother, Uno Suomela, and four sisters, Helen Bernthal, Hannah (Ann) Olesak, Hulda (Betty) Vickery, and twin sister, Hilia Roos.

Friends may call at the First Presbyterian Church on Monday, January 14, 2013 from 10:00 am to 11:00 am where funeral services will be conducted at 11:00 am with Reverend Nicholas Cammarata officiating followed by a burial service at Park Cemetery.

A memorial service will be held at the St. Andrews Presbyterian Church located at 8192 Davison Road, Davison, Michigan 48423, Sunday, January 20, 2013, at 12:45 p.m. The Rev. Edward Borycz will officiate the service.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Bay Cliff Health Camp P.O. Box 310 Big Bay, Michigan 49808 or First Presbyterian Church, 120 N. Front Street, Marquette, MI 49855, or St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, c/o Memorial Fund for “Knitting in the Word” Mission, PO Box 386, Davison, MI 48423.

The Swanson- Lundquist Funeral Home is serving the family. Condolences may be expressed online at