Jan Dell Nyquist

Jan Dell NyquistOur beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend, Jan Dell Dickey Nyquist, was born on February 27, 1934, the only child of D. M. and Katherine Terry Dickey in Sherman, TX and died surrounded by her family on August 30, 2017 from complications of stroke.

After high school in Pampa, TX, Jan began a life of epic travel by taking the train to Missoula, MT to attend the University of Montana where she pledged Kappa Kappa Gamma.There she met the love of her life and husband of 63 years, Donald Nyquist.  Married in in 1955 in Great Falls, MT, the young couple moved to Fort Collins, CO for Don’s basic training in the Army.  The first of four children, Lee, was born in San Antonio in 1956 where Don was stationed. The couple returned to Missoula to complete their education.  Jan received a BA in education in 1957.  Three more children followed in quick succession, and the family moved to Glasgow, MT when Don joined the family business, Nyquist Financial Services. The family moved back to Missoula in 1964 where Don opened a new branch office of the family firm.

Raising four children with only five years between the oldest and youngest, kept Jan very busy, but  she returned to the University of Montana and completed a Master’s Degree in Guidance Counseling in 1968.  Somehow while working full-time in secondary education, she made sure every birthday was special, Christmas was magical, science fair projects earned blue ribbons, music lessons were attended, and a home-cooked meal was on the table for family dinner every night.  She taught us all how to cook, how to sew, how to garden, and how to really clean a house. She never missed a child’s concert, stage play, recital, scouting event or  track meet. Fanciful animal-shaped birthday cakes that Jan made and beautifully handcrafted Halloween costumes are family legend.  As a family we hiked the trails and mountains of Montana’s wild places, fishing for supper and gathering huckleberries for morning pancakes. Summers often included epic road trips in the family station wagon all across the American West or long, lazy days at the family’s lake home in the mountains.  Jan loved animals, and a veritable menagerie of cats, dogs, birds, geese and pet rodents were part of the family.

After 15 years as first a guidance counselor and then as a vice principal of a large high school, Jan left her career in secondary education  to begin doctoral studies at the University of British Columbia in 1977.   She completed all  coursework and dissertation research, but left the program frustrated by the politics of academia prior to receiving her degree.  Jan’s career continued through her seventies, including curriculum development at Antioch University, field research for Fred Hutchinson Research Center and the University of Washington, and teaching English as a second language abroad.

Jan’s life was centered on her beloved husband and family.   Family gatherings that grew larger and larger as children and grandchildren brought new members to the clan were a frequent event filled with love and laughter and fueled by great food and good wine.

With the children grown, Jan and Don began what turned out to be decades of adventure travel. Besides her family, Jan’s true passion was travel and education, and she found an equally eager and dauntless companion in her best friend and husband. These adventures fed her profound intellect and boundless curiosity through discovery and exploration of diverse lives, geographies, and cultures around the world. They traversed every continent but Antarctica and most of the Seven Seas, and spent three years living and working abroad in China, Nepal and Uganda.  Among their adventures were touring Central America on a Green Tortoise bus, navigating a barge through the canal systems of Ireland, teaching English in China, trekking in Nepal, cruising the Pacific Ocean on a working freighter, driving a rented Volkswagen Rabbit from Paris to Morocco to Croatia, and traversing the Negev Desert on camels, to name just a few.  In 2010, they lived and worked in Entebbe, Uganda as members of a mission team for Wycliffe Bible Translators USA.

Although born during the Great Depression in a small dusty town in the panhandle of Texas, Jan was not to be defined by her origins.  She was fiercely independent and proud to be a truly self-made woman.  If she wanted to accomplish something—from learning to cook her husband’s favorite dishes to engineering a summer home exchange in Great Britain pre-Internet in 1976 to missionary work in Africa, she did it.  She loved the challenge, the puzzle of myriad moving pieces, the planning, the execution, and the enormous satisfaction of a job well done.

Jan was deeply committed to her Christian faith.  Prayer, devotion, and Bible study were part of daily life, and she drew strength from  a large community of faithful around the world.

Jan is survived by her four children and their spouses, Lee Nyquist (LaVonne), Katherine Thompson (Guy), Terry Nyquist (David Garcia) and Brent Nyquist (Sarah Selleck), six grandchildren Ben (Allison), Daniel (Jessie), Jacob (Laura Bonawitz), Zach (Kayla Hackman), Lauren and Katherine, six great grandchildren, Colin, Max, Matthias, Tiernan, Victoria and Aaron and many friends around the world.  Her beloved husband Don preceded her in death on August 21, 2017.  Charitable gifts may be made in Jan’s name to Evergreen Hospice at www.evergreenhealthfoundation.com/ways-to-give/donate/.

Jan often said that her dearest wish was that her children grow up friends. We have Mom, because you taught us how to be a family.

A celebration of Jan’s life and love will be held at the Chapel of the Resurrection, Bothell, Washington on October 7, 2017 at 2 pm.  www.chapeloftheresurrection.net.



  1. Doris Reich
    Posted September 5, 2017 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t God Good, taking you folks so close together. I so loved your Mom. She was so very Special. Looking forward to meeting her when God takes me Home. Love you guys and praying that God will be with you all as you prepare to lay both your Mom and Dad to rest. Sincerely, Doris Reich

  2. Sharon L Webb
    Posted September 10, 2017 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    We were fortunate to meet Jan and Don through my husband Ross’s connections with his Parkinson’s.
    I found a kindred spirit in Jan, her many interests, Christian faith, wisdom in dealing with a spouses declining health. We took a wonderful walk together at the Botanical Gardens in Bellevue, had tea together at my house and together at Madison House several times. We also went a couple of times for Pho at a place near Don’s group home. My favorite though was taking a stretching class with her at the Kirkland Senior Center. I knew I was in the company of a remarkable woman and cherish the memories of these much to infrequent meetings. We chatted in august about Don’s declining health and the pros and cons of Hospice. I called her and left a message after we learned of Don’s death. So saddened to learn she left before I could say goodbye but know she is now once again with her beloved Don.

  3. DON AND June summers
    Posted September 30, 2017 at 1:55 pm | Permalink



Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *