Louellyn Wilma Reiss Nestingen, who died on April 25, 2015 at Comforts of Home in River Falls, was born in Forrest, Wisconsin, on April 13, 1924. The oldest daughter of Jacob and Lena Reiss (Alits) she had two younger siblings, Margret and Norman. Her family moved to western Canada for a short period of time during the dust storms of the 30’s, returning to Deer Park, Wisconsin, where her parents farmed. Louellyn graduated from Amery High School in 1943 and attended River Falls State Teacher’s College, graduating in 1946 with a degree in History and English.
For two years, beginning in 1946 Louellyn taught in Rice Lake and then, captured by the spirit of adventure, she moved to Rawlins, Wyoming to teach for two years. Returning to Wisconsin in 1950, Louellyn began to teach English in Spring Valley. While there she met and married John Nestingen, continuing to teach until she had two of her four children. After two more children and a ten-year teaching hiatus, Louellyn resumed to her teaching career at the Ellsworth High School and continued to teach while returning to the University of Wisconsin River Falls for her Master’s Degree in English, graduating in 1977.
During the time she taught at Ellsworth, Louellyn continued her advocacy efforts for a number of years. She worked to strengthen the rights of teachers through the Wisconsin Education Association Board. Louellyn was an active member of the Democratic Party for 40 years, running for legislative office in 1980.
Upon retirement, Louellyn began another great adventure; she travelled to China and taught English in Hangzhou, China for a year, 1985 to 1986. Returning to the US Louellyn was so excited about traveling in China that she figured out a way to serve as a guide for two extended trips to Tibet. She also taught English in Russia and traveled with her children, her niece Kathy, and friends to England, Europe, Mexico, and Canada.
Probably the greatest adventure, the most fun, and the greatest challenge for Louellyn was being the mom to her brood of four children. Lou’s sense of humor, keen intelligence, ability to say ‘no’ and endless energy were necessary strengths as she shepherded her children to adulthood. Lou was a grandmother to 16 delightful children and great-grandmother to 3 beautiful kids, and she enjoyed being an Aunt to her three nieces. Louellyn is survived by children Jon Leif (Karen), Signe (Kirt), Eddie (Annie) and Kari Nestingen-Hussey (Rick), sister Margaret Johnson (Wes) and their daughters and her brother Norman Reiss. Louellyn was preceded in death by her mother and father, and sister-in-law Judy Reiss.
Lou’s family would like to acknowledge, and thank, the Comforts of Home Memory Care unit staff and the Saint Croix Hospice care team for the dedicated, compassionate, and loving care generously provided to Louellyn.
A celebration of Life will be held at 6 PM on May 29 at the Bakken-Young Funeral home in River Falls (www.bakken-young.com). Please join the family for conversation and quiche. Memorials preferred to the Saint Croix Hospice. Arrangements are with Bakken-Young Funeral & Cremation Services of River Falls.