Traverse City Record-Eagle
— ELK RAPIDS — Lois May Nevin, one of the best of the Greatest Generation, born Aug. 14, 1925, in Elk Rapids, to James Leslie “Les” and Minnie (Wilson) Grider, passed away peacefully at her home on Saturday morning, April 27, 2013. She had recently been assisted in her home by Wanda Siwirski, a friend and companion, who helped her to be comfortable, maintain her dignity and be as active as she could. Lois’s family greatly appreciated Wanda’s loving care.
Lois graduated from Elk Rapids High School in 1943 and joined the Cadet Nurse Corps Program, leaving for Chicago and Jackson Park Hospital, where she worked and attended nursing school until graduation in December of 1946. As one of the nurses who graduated from the program after the end of World War II, she was attached to the United States Public Health Service, where she finished her service to her country. She fulfilled her service obligation by working as a Registered Nurse in several hospitals and by making home visits in Cook County, Ill.
During her United States Public Health service Lois treated a patient by the name of Florence Nevin who had a son in the Marine Corps. Lois and Roy Nevin enjoyed an immediate attraction and true love that led to their marriage in Elk Rapids on Aug. 23, 1947. This was the beginning of a lifetime friendship and sharing of their lives.
In 1952 Lois, with her husband Roy, formed Florence Nightingale Nursery School in Chicago, Ill. Roy was more active in the business upon his return from serving in the Marine Corps during the Korean War. Several of her nursing friends and teachers worked there nurturing young children in the area, including her own daughter, Christine who was spoiled by the nurses and teachers. Her dad, Les Grider, built nap cots for the kids and unique rocking boats that turned over to make stair steps for the youngsters to practice climbing. Lois loved her father greatly and always appreciated his carpentry skills and help with the fledgling nursery school. Roy supported the school by driving the “woody” station wagon to pick up and deliver children from the school before and after going to his own job. Lois operated the school until 1956 when the family moved to the southwest side of Chicago. She concentrated on building her family by adding Laura and Mike. With the growing family she spent more of her time working at home.
In 1962 the family moved to Geneva, Ill., where she returned to her nursing career working part-time on the afternoon shift at Delnor Hospital on Randall Road in Geneva and at DuPage County Convalescent Center in Wheaton Ill. Once again the family pitched in, with her dad Les fixing dinner in the evenings and Roy running rough shod on the homework assignments. Lois loved working in maternity and excelled in the care of premature infants long before there were neonatal units with state-of-the-art equipment as there are today. She continued with her part-time nursing in the summer at Munson Medical Center, also in maternity.
Part of her time at home was spent by supporting her daughters as a Girl Scout Leader and enriching her own life by participating in many clubs and activities. In order to not become a golf “widow” she learned to play golf and was a Charter Member of the Elk Rapids Golf Club Ladies’ League. She helped to write the by-laws for the league with Marcia Merillat, one of her many lifetime friends. One of her passions was serving as the historian and photographer for the Ladies League until 2010. She especially loved getting candid shots of the ladies during their last day of their season, “fun” day.
Over time she shifted her efforts more and more to working outside the home. Part-time nursing gave way to full-time employment eventually, and she was soon working more than ever to support the college fund she and Roy had started for their children.
Roy’s job took the family to Michigan, and they lived in Howell and subsequently Kentwood, where Lois’s nursing career took a turn toward patients at their end of life at the Grand Valley Nursing Home and as a hospice home health care volunteer. She became known as a nurse that had a career taking care of patients from cradle to grave.
While working in Grand Rapids, Lois was always the one to work holidays so other nurses with young children could be home with their families. She was often referred to by her elderly patients as the “real” nurse because she always wore her cap, white dress uniform, white stockings and white duty shoes. Lois officially retired her cap and uniform in 1990.
One of the most memorable events of this time was the years of saving money secretly so she could buy a special present for the love of her life, Roy. At no other time in her life did she ever work so much or spend so much for any gift or purchase. It was a wonderful, loving gift, a beautiful ring that Roy cherished so much.
After successfully raising her family and sending them out into the world, the two of them worked their way into retirement. This freed them up to do so much more with friends and family. They bought a travel trailer and saw 47 of the contiguous 48 states and Alaska. In their travels they made many new friends across the country with whom they kept in touch with over the years, meeting for golf, lunch or dinner as they traveled.
Lois was an avid joiner and was active with many organizations such as, Amvets Auxiliary Post 114 as a lifetime member, lifetime member of VFW Auxiliary Post 2780 in Traverse City, National WWII Memorial Honoree, Widow’s lifetime member at the Elks Club, Charter member of Elk Rapids Dollar Club, Member of Elk Rapids Social Club and a clown in many of the Harbor Day parades with Roy and her many friends (who shall remain anonymous). Her love of taking pictures was appreciated by many as she documented several years of Memorial Day parades. The annual August barbecues and sing-a-longs were legendary and will be missed by many.
Perhaps Lois’ most selfless and loving act took place as so many of her friends and neighbors aged and began to experience health issues. She was always there as a friend and a nurse for many people in need, providing care and love in the most special way. No one was in a better position to do these things for so many people, and even though it was hard, she did it. Taking time for people and using her gifts helped ease their pain and loneliness, and it was a beautiful and inspiring thing to witness.
In the last few years Lois enjoyed supporting her great-grandchildren by going to soccer, basketball and volleyball games, track meets and Elk Rapids Little Miss and Pre-teen pageants. She liked her role as a great-grandmother and getting out with the kids. They lovingly called her “grandma pink lips” and “GG”.
Her fierce loyalty and love of friends and family will be greatly missed by those who knew and loved her. Surviving friends are too numerous to mention but family members are son, Michael and daughter-in-law, Lynn Nevin; grandson, Jacob Nevin; daughter, Laura L. Nevin and son-in-law, Mark Frickman; grandson, Todd (Barbie) Frickman and great-grandchildren, Connor and Chloe Frickman; and grandson, Dustin (Carol) Frickman; daughter, Christine Keenan and son-in-law, Terry Keenan; granddaughter, Elizabeth Stevens and great-granddaughter, Allison Stevens; granddaughter, Lee Powers and great-grandchildren, Lauren, Rachel, Terran and Carson Peterson; granddaughter, Molly Keenan and grandsons, Christopher Keenan and Denny Keenan; cousins, Rosemary (Wilson) Wade, of Elk Rapids, John (Barbara) Grider, of Bowling Green, Ky., Charlotte (Grider) Egan, of Sellersburg, Ind., Jack Hummel, of Shasta Lake, Calif., and Alice (Hummel) Yaryan, of Calimesa, Calif.
She was preceded in death by her loving husband, LeRoy “Roy” L. Nevin; her parents, James Leslie “Les” and Minnie (Wilson) Grider; her brother, Leslie Grider; and many, many friends.
Friends may visit with the family at 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 4, at the Amvets Post 114, 410 Bridge Street, Elk Rapids, MI 49629, where the memorial service with military honors will take place at 4 p.m. Per Lois’s request, a social hour and dinner will follow as we celebrate her life and legacy.
In lieu of flowers, Lois’ wish is to have contributions made to Amvets Post 114, Building Fund, at the above address.
Respectful and caring arrangements have been made by Covell Funeral Home, Elk Rapids.