MILWAUKIE, Ore. — Jill Eileen (Grossnicklaus) Nissila, 68, died in Milwaukie, Ore., after living with metastasized breast cancer.
She was born and raised in Corvallis, Oregon and attended Oregon State University where she met her husband Peter Nissila. Pete and Jill were married on December 30, 1977.
Jill graduated from Portland State University in 1984 with a BS in Arts and Humanities. They moved to Pete’s hometown of Hancock in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in 1984 to assume ownership and management of the family business Nissila Greenhouses, Inc. After 25 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 for encouraging people to pray. She strived to be a lawyer, coach, initiator/strategic thinker, journalist, marketer, and photographer with a good sense of fun and humor, as well as a lot of gratitude and of joy. She used these abilities throughout her life, including as co-owner and COO of the family greenhouse business. She also served as Assistant to the Director of New Creative Ministries at Houghton; freelance writer for the Houghton Daily Mining Gazette and assisted her husband Pete in his position as director of the Oregon Association of Nurserymen.
She earned her Michigan Master Gardener designation and a certificate in floral design from the American Floral Art School in Chicago, Illinois.
She was the editor of a fundraising cookbook for Zion Lutheran Church (Hancock) 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 his time in hospice. When she wasn’t working or volunteering, she enjoyed writing, gardening, reading, beading, photography, scrapbooking and cooking.
Jill was initially diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001; after treatment, the disease went into remission. She gained in-depth knowledge, empathy and resilience regarding cancer after first caring for her brother-in-law Ed and then her husband Peter, who died in 2012 of complications from myeloid leukemia and a transplant. of stem cells.
She is survived by three sisters, Koren Hughes, Vernon, British Columbia, Canada, Heidi (Mark) Spilde, Corvallis; and Alison Grossnicklaus, Springfield, Oregon; two brothers, Reed Grossnicklaus (Debbie Berrow) of Creswell, Oregon, Kevin (Carmen) Grossnicklaus, of Salem, Oregon; brother-in-law, Ken Bjornback; 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; his sister, Leslie Bjornbak, and his mother, Opal Grossnicklaus.
Services for Jill Nissila will be held Saturday, March 19, 2022 at 11 a.m. at Pilgrim Lutheran Church, Beaverton, Oregon, with Reverend Tim Brand officiating and Andrea Gehrke speaking.
Michigan Services will be at Zion Lutheran Church, Hancock, Michigan, in late June with Jesse Aho as its officer; Gerry Southerton and Katherine Salmi speaking.
Interment will be in the Nissila family grounds, Lakeside Cemetery, Hancock.