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July 29, 1945 ~ December 5, 2023 (age 78) 78 Years Old
Nancy Wilhelmsen (nee Newhouse) passed away at 78 on December 5, 2023, surrounded by family. She was born to William and Mina (Scott) Newhouse on July 29, 1945, and raised on the family farm. She participated in every aspect of raising and hand-processing some 10,000 turkeys for Thanksgiving each year. She graduated from North Boone High School in 1963 and attended Carthage College, finishing her nursing training at the University of Wisconsin, Madison hospitals.
Oyvind Wilhelmsen of Drobak, Norway came to study in America and occasionally helped on the Newhouse family farm. They met there and married in 1967, and moved to Norway a year later, welcoming their daughter Anne in 1972. Nancy plunged into the Norwegian language as soon as she arrived and began her nursing career in an Oslo hospital. One of her earliest patients was Princess Astrid of Norway who let it be known that she wanted to practice her English. The new American nurse was assigned to her, and the two, apparently, stayed in touch for years.
Much of her career was spent caring for Norwegian senior citizens, specializing in post-surgical care. Though she became fluent in Norwegian, patients welcomed the remarkable kindness of the nurse with the slight American accent. Oyvind (d. 2022) and she were married 54 years, and as he experienced significant health challenges in his final years, she cared for him with the same selfless attention.
They built a beautiful home in Drobak with a sweeping view of the Oslo fjord. She learned the traditional art of Rosemal painting, and even mastered making the peculiarly unique Norwegian delicacy of lutefisk. Gardens flourished around their home in the Norwegian summer, especially colorful geraniums – some of which came as slips from the Illinois farm, sneaked through Customs in a pocket. The extra-sweet Norwegian strawberry plant made the return trip to Illinois this same way and has thrived.
Family ties were incredibly important to Nancy, and she made many trips across the Atlantic to keep them close and warm. Eventually she came to spend weeks in Illinois with her family, followed by long visits to Vermont with her daughter and family.
She is survived by her daughter, Anne (Peterson, husband Kirk, sons Espen and Jens); mother, Mina; sister Ginny; brothers Marshall and Brian; sisters in law Julie and Angela Newhouse. In Norway she is survived by sisters in law Turid and Laila; brothers in law Dag and Stein and many treasured nieces and nephews on both sides of the Atlantic.
The family wishes to convey their deep gratitude to the entire staff at OSF, Rockford, both for their professionalism and their many acts of kindness.
Nancy’s Funeral Service will be 11:00 a.m. on Saturday December 9, 2023, at JEFFERSON PRAIRIE LUTHERAN CHURCH, 23184 Bergen Road, Poplar Grove, IL with Pastor Linda Winkelman officiating. Friends will be received on Saturday in the Church from 9:30 a.m. until the time of service. If desired, donations to The American Diabetes Society (diabetes.org) or in Norway: diabetes.no in Nancy’s name. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared on our website.