It is with great sadness that we announce the unexpected passing of Jane Susan Nelson, 68, of Billings. Jane was born on Oct. 17, 1952, to Leonard and Mathilda Nelson in Williston, North Dakota, where she grew up and attended school. After graduating from Williston High School in 1970, Jane moved to Grand Forks, North Dakota, to study nursing at The University of North Dakota, where she was a member of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority. She spent a summer semester at the University of Hawaii before earning her Bachelor of Science in nursing at UND.
Jane held nursing positions at St. Luke’s Hospital in Fargo, North Dakota; St. Alexis Hospital in Bismarck; Mercy Medical Center in Williston; and Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. In 1988, she accepted a position with Baylor University in Dallas, teaching nursing classes and working for an orthopedic surgeon. Jane retired and moved to Billings in 2000 to be closer to family.
Jane was charming, independent and outgoing with a hilarious sense of humor, many friends, a dazzling smile and an adventurous spirit. “Throw caution to the winds” was her credo, as she wanted to live life to the fullest. Jane traveled all over the world, visiting Canada, Hawaii, Mexico, the Caribbean, and many European countries including Russia. But closest to her heart was her Scandinavian heritage, connecting and corresponding with newly found relatives in Norway and Sweden. A highlight was a 2007 family trip to Scandinavia to meet them and stand on the stone foundation of her grandfather, Mons Lysne’s home in Laerdal, Norway.
Jane was a downhill and cross-country skier, tennis player, ballroom dancer, quilter, bridge player, painter, cat lover, and breast cancer survivor. She had exquisite taste in furniture, art, decorating, cuisine, and was an excellent cook. She was an active member of American Lutheran Church and Sons of Norway.
Jane is survived by her brother, Bruce, and his wife, Susan of Billings; her niece, Lindsey Nelson of Medford, Oregon; nephews, Collin Nelson of Billings, Cory Nelson (Krista) of Tigard, Oregon, and Chris Herreid of Southaven, Mississippi, who all lovingly called their auntie, “Janer.” Her beloved kitty, Presley, who will live with her brother and his wife, also survives Jane. She is predeceased by her mother, Tillie, in 1975 and her father, Leonard, in 2006.
As part of Jane’s philanthropic legacy, she established a foundation at the UND School of Nursing and Professional Disciplines to provide scholarships to those individuals desiring a career in nursing. Memorials may be made to Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter in Billings, Help for Homeless Pets in Billings, or a charity of your choice.
Memorial services will be held at a later date.