Ruth C. Nissen, 98, of Lake Forest, died July 13. She was born and grew up in Chicago. She excelled as a student in the Chicago Public Schools, graduating from high school when she was 16 years old, and then graduating from Wright Junior College at age 18, when she joined the work force. One of her early jobs was at Allstate Insurance Company where she met William G. Nissen, Jr., to whom she was later married for 50 years until his death in 1996. During World War II, she worked in Chicago for the U.S. Navy as a civilian, and later as a stewardess for United Airlines, based in Chicago and flying to Denver and Boston.
In 1946, after the War had ended, and William Nissen had returned from wartime service in the U.S. Navy and rejoined Allstate, she and William were married in Chicago, after which Ruth became a full-time homemaker. She and William were blessed over the years with three children: William, Robert, and Mary. William’s jobs with Allstate took the family to New Jersey, back to Chicago, then to Atlanta, and finally to Lake Forest, where Ruth continued to reside for the remainder of her life.
Ruth became a member of St. James Lutheran Church upon moving to Lake Forest in 1964. She actively participated in a sewing group at the church, and in “Leisure Time,” a local group that organized events for senior citizens. She excelled at creating beautiful quilts, which she shared with her extended family and donated to local charity auctions. She loved attending flea markets, where she regularly spotted rare and special books, art and other collectibles. In 1998, she was one of the first residents to arrive at Lake Forest Place, where she quickly made many friends.
Family was very important to Ruth. In addition to her children, she was blessed with five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, whose schooling and other activities she followed closely and participated in whenever possible. She hosted many family gatherings in her home, including large Thanksgiving dinners for the extended family. One of her specialties was Swedish meatballs, which she learned to make from her Swedish mother-in-law. She maintained a close connection not only with her children and grandchildren, but also with her nieces and nephews and their children and grandchildren. She corresponded with them and spoke frequently on the telephone, and whenever out-of-town family members were in the area, they stopped to visit her.
Ruth is survived by her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who were most fortunate to experience her presence in their lives for so many years. Interment was private. A Memorial Service will be held at a later date. Memorial donations may be made to the Dean Schraufnagel, MD, Endowed Professorship Fund at University of Illinois Medical School, for the support of lung research (http://schraufnagelprofessorship.uic.edu), or to St. James Lutheran Church (1380 N. Waukegan Rd., Lake Forest, IL 60045). Info: Wenban Funeral Home (847) 234-0022 or www.wenbanfh.com