Mildred “Milly” Louise Nowak, age 94 years, wife, mother, grandmother, nurse, and traveler died peacefully at 4:32 p.m. on Saturday, January 11, 2020 with family and family pets gathered around at the home of her daughter in Buchanan, Michigan following an extended illness. Her family is grateful for the compassionate and skilled care provided by the staff of Caring Circle Hospice at Home, and personal caregiver Mackenzie Helms.
She was born on May 16, 1925 in Antigo, Wisconsin to the Rev. Edwin R. and Gladys R. (Watkins) Evans. She graduated from Lee High School when it was in Grand Rapids, Michigan (but – without moving – is now in Wyoming, Michigan), and was certified as a Registered Nurse by the former Butterworth Hospital School of Nursing. She was employed as a surgical nurse at Butterworth Hospital (now Spectrum Health Butterworth) for years before moving to Niles, Michigan in 1968.
In Niles, Milly was a member of several churches over time, lastly, Buchanan First United Methodist Church. She enjoyed traveling through the United States, usually camping along the way, with a special interest in historical sites. Always the organizer, she long held the family nickname of “Mission Control”, keeping everyone informed, trips planned, information disseminated, household and family affairs running smoothly, children and spouse encouraged, and friends uplifted. She was always everyone’s quiet champion, cheering and supporting from the background, never wanting any attention on herself. Milly never understood her impact on people, for everyone was charmed by her, and yet she remained oblivious to how much she was loved and adored. Milly also showered love on, and treasured the family dogs.
On October 5, 1951 in Grand Rapids her father officiated as she was wed to Frank Victor Nowak with whom she celebrated the remarkable fifty-eighth anniversary of their wedding just days prior to his death on October 30, 2009. Milly was also preceded in death by her parents, Edwin and Gladys, “Molly” Evans, and by her siblings, Merthyn “Bud” Evans, Elizabeth Rudge, and Ellyn Bruins-Slot.
Surviving family includes her children, Stephen (& Candee) Nowak of Middletown, Delaware, David (& Anne) Nowak of Conyers, Georgia, and Janice (& Pastor William Walters) Nowak-Walters of Buchanan; grandchildren Evan Nowak, Aaron Walters, Liana Nowak, Celeste (& Fernando) Samaniego, Amy Collis, and Heather (& Ray) Auger; great-grandchildren Mercedez, Hunter, Brayden, Samantha, Ian, and Ailene; and several nieces and nephews all of whom she also loved dearly, and two remaining cousins.
Services for Mildred Nowak will be at Noon on Saturday, February 8, 2020 at Buchanan First United Methodist Church with Pastor Ellen and the Rev. Jan Van Lear officiating. Contributions in memory of Milly may be made to Redbud Area Ministries, 708 North Redbud Trail, Buchanan, Michigan, 49107; or The Old Rugged Cross Foundation, Inc., Post Office Box 41, Niles, Michigan, 49120 www.the-oldruggedcross.org. Arrangements were made at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home, 615 East Main Street in Niles. Online condolences may be left at:
Millie had a passion for serving – in a surgical suite, at church, at a campsite, or at home – but her greatest focus was always on those whom she served.
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Redbud Area Ministries
708 North Redbud Trail, Buchanan MI 49107
The Old Rugged Cross Foundation
P.O. Box 41, Niles MI 49120