Nancy Ann (Oman) Holmstrom has gone home to be with the Lord—“Home,” in the words of the song, “Where I Belong.” She died Tuesday, September 8, 2020 at Lakeview Memory Care in Gladstone, Michigan, believing, as the Apostle Paul, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).
The 89-year-old was born on Epiphany, January 6, 1931, in Marquette, Michigan, to Ernest Oman, a drill press operator originally from Gävle, Sweden, and Ruth (Hoglund Swanson) Oman, a registered nurse, of Marquette. Her father was believed to be the first man from Marquette County drafted to serve in World War I.
Nancy grew up going to the Swedish Baptist Church in Marquette (now Bethel Baptist), of which her grandparents, Charles and Helen Hoglund, were founding members. She was among those in the Upper Peninsula’s first driver’s education class, held at Marquette’s Graveraet High School, from which she graduated in 1948 and where she was pianist for the mixed chorus and orchestra. Nancy attended Bethel College and Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, for one year, 1948-1949, before joining God’s Invasion Army (GIA), formerly an evangelistic arm of the Baptist General Conference (now Converge Worldwide). In 1951, she spent the year traveling the U.S. and Canada with GIA, as one of its youth missionaries and pianists, making many lifelong friends.
In the years before and after her service in GIA, Nancy worked as a cashier at the Red Owl and Piggly Wiggly grocery stores, and the S.S. Kresge Company dime store in Marquette. Later, she taught piano lessons, sold jewelry in home parties, and made crafts and sold them at craft shops and craft fairs locally.
Nancy was married in Marquette August 16, 1952, to William “Bill” Holmstrom of Carney, Michigan. Their first home was a Quonset hut in Vetville, on the campus of Northern Michigan College in Marquette, where he was studying to become a teacher. His career subsequently took them to Carney, to Perkins, Michigan, and to Nancy’s mother’s hometown of Gladstone, where they settled in 1959.
Together, Nancy and Bill traveled extensively in North America and Europe, including in her ancestral homeland of Sweden. They made 25th and 50th wedding anniversary trips to Hawaii, a 35th wedding anniversary trip to Scandinavia and a 45th wedding anniversary trip to Bermuda, and wintered for several years in Green Valley, Arizona, after Bill retired in 1983. He died March 13, 2009. Nancy split the years after his death between her own home in Gladstone and her youngest daughter’s home in Dodgeville, Wisconsin, until moving to Lakeview in December 2019.
Nancy was a member of Grace Church in Gladstone, where she once taught Bible studies, played piano and helped in other ways as she could. Earlier she was a member of Bethel Evangelical Free Church in Gladstone, where she was the church pianist and choir director, held numerous offices over many years, including president of the Women’s Missionary Society, taught Sunday school and vacation Bible school, led the youth groups and otherwise volunteered considerable time. She was also once a member of The Gideons International Auxiliary, taught women’s Bible studies at the Delta County Correctional Facility in Escanaba, spoke about her faith before many different groups locally, counseled and otherwise served at church-affiliated Bible camps in the Upper Peninsula and northern Wisconsin, and often fed and housed visiting missionaries and pastors. In her later years, Nancy conducted prayer ministries to local individuals and families. One by one, she prayed for all those listed in the Grace Church directory and many in the Escanaba/Gladstone telephone book, also calling and/or hand-writing a note to each. Most recently, she beaded Wordless Bracelets for evangelistic use by Teen Missions International around the world; others helped by tying the knots. She made an estimated 5,000 bracelets in just two years 2018-2019.
In addition, Nancy read voraciously, worked crossword puzzles, did counted cross-stitch and Swedish weaving, beaded, knitted, and enjoyed playing games and baking pasties, pies, bread and cookies. For years, she made as many as 200 dozen cookies every Christmas, mostly as gifts for friends and neighbors.
Nancy is survived by: daughters Doris Holmstrom of Gladstone and Susan (Duane) Strickfaden of Dodgeville; grandchildren Pastor Tyler (Stacie) Strickfaden of Muskego, Wisconsin, and Heather Ann (Phillip) Hansen of Platteville, Wisconsin; five great-grandsons, Caden Bennett and Titus Strickfaden, and Kiptyn, Ryker and Maverick Hansen; two great-granddaughters, Talulah Strickfaden and Tirzah Ann Hansen; 10 nieces and nephews, Kathleen McKindles of Tularosa, New Mexico, William (Cheryl) Todd Jr. of Marquette, Judith (Bill) Krieg of Quinnesec, Michigan, Mary Kristine “Kriss” Pollard of Marquette, Rev. Dr. Stephen (Gayle) Patrick of Hillsboro, Ohio, Rebecca (Lee) Abraham of Longview, Washington, Jeffrey (Cheryl) Patrick of Rock, Michigan, Leslie (Clyde) Burke of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Daniel Ford (Larry Christensen) of Chicago, Illinois, and missionary David (Diane) Ford of Chiang Rai, Thailand, and their families; her husband’s niece and one of his four nephews, and all their families; and Mary Feldhusen of Gladstone.
Besides her husband, Nancy was preceded in death by her parents, her older sisters Adeline Todd and Dorothy Patrick, her younger sister Carolyn Ford, and her brothers-in-law William Todd, Arthur Patrick and Stanley Ford.
Visitation for Nancy Holmstrom will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Saturday, September 12, at Grace Church in Gladstone, with services to follow at 1 p.m. at the church. (Masks are required.) Burial will be in Gardens of Rest Memorial Park in Wells. The family is being assisted by Skradski Funeral Home in Gladstone.
Nancy’s family thanks her caregivers at Lakeview and from UPHS Hospice, and her Grace Church family for their end-of-life kindnesses to her and to them.