Winna Fae Serene Nisswandt passed away October 1, 2021, at Essentia-St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth, Minnesota after a brief illness.
Winna Fae was born on September 21, 1930, in Minneapolis, MN, to Esther and Leonard Ingebrigtsen. She was the youngest of four children. Although she grew up during the Great Depression, Winna Fae would often say she had a great childhood, a sign of her eternal optimism.
She attended the University of Minnesota, where she met a medical student named Albert Nisswandt who became the love of her life. They married on September 12, 1953, and shared nearly 60 years together before his death in 2013. Together they raised seven children and celebrated each one of their 19 grandchildren.
Their home in Knife River on Lake Superior was a place to gather. Adventure, hammers, and ice cream were abundantly available for her 19 grandchildren at all times, as well as advice to “Be careful and wear a life jacket”. Winna Fae swam in cold Lake Superior on most summer days. If you arrived for morning coffee at the right moment, you would see her coming up from the rocks to Dad waiting with a hot cup of coffee. She embraced being a part of the Knife River community, especially her sewing club and book club. She called Pines III Assisted Living home for the last four years. She had an adventurous spirit, traveling all over the world with Albert. They canoed in the Quetico every year into their 80’s. Winna Fae was beautiful inside and out, a gifted musician, and a friend to so many, maintaining lifelong friendships with high school friends, Theta sorority sisters, and anyone she met. Always inquisitive, she would often say, “How will you know if you don’t ask?”. Confident and courageous, Dad would often say that Mom suffered from enthusiasm and was seldom wrong, but never in doubt.
Winna Fae was active in the St. Louis County Medical Auxiliary, serving as president for a term, First Lutheran Church in Duluth, where she has been a part of the Dorcas circle for bible study for over 60 years, volunteered at Glensheen as a docent, and played organ at Knife River Lutheran Church.
She is preceded in death by her beloved husband, Albert, and her parents and siblings. She is survived by children and grandchildren: Kirsten; Eric (Lee Barnes), Kyle, Lindsay (Josh), Kaci (John); Knute; Beret (Jim) Sandness, David (Michaela), Kristin, Jonathan (Becca), Katie (Spencer); Ingrid (Chris Larsen), Kai, Siri, Brita; Elsa (Jeff) Keeler, Erik (Maddie), Maria, Daniel (Janna), Karl; Franz (Lisa), Lars, Sten, Greta, Eva, Rayna. Winna Fae was blessed to love, hold, and sing to eight great grandchildren in the last five years. She is also survived by her sister-in-law, Eleanor (Lennart) and many nieces and nephews.
The family is deeply grateful to the staff of Pines III Assisted Living for helping Mom to thrive in her home, and to the staff of St. Mary’s-Essentia cardiac floor for their compassionate care in her last days. Internment at Park Hill Cemetery. A memorial service will be held at a later date.
Memorials may be directed to First Lutheran Church or donor’s choice. We like to think that Albert was waiting for her with a cup of coffee. As Mom would say, “Carry On, and Full Speed Ahead!”.
A Service of Thanksgiving will be held: Saturday, December 11th, 11:00am, at First Lutheran Church, 1100 East Superior St., Duluth, with visitation at 10:30am.
Arrangements by Dougherty Funeral Home, 218-727-3555, please visit www.dfhduluth.com to sign the online guestbook.