This will be the first in a series of tributes to lovely ladies I have met since moving to Butte, Montana almost 40 years ago. These women are such an important part of our Butte history in that they touched the ordinary people with their talents, skills, attitudes, love, friendship and the desire to teach and enrich the lives of others.
Johanna ‘Ann’ Nelissen
This tribute honors Ann and remembers my relationship with her. Sad to say, she passed away on July 18, 2014. I want to share my memories of Ann and how she affected me personally.
I first met Ann when I was searching for someone to help me with learning to sew. As it turned out, she only lived up the street from me. She was working out of her house at the time and just starting her business. I went to her for advice off and on. Then Ann opened her store and began to share her craft with many women in the community. I attended her classes along with many others. I would expect that the church should have been packed at her funeral as she taught so many of the women the art of making lovely things both for the home and for personal use.
She had a wonderful sense of humor and a sparkle in her eye. She would tap your hand gently, smile and look at you with a teasing sense when you were in doubt or perhaps missed a step in the design or production. She helped me to get my first Viking sewing machine. I learned so much from this beautiful woman. I always teased her about writing a book; telling her that I would transcribe the recording if she wanted to share her abundant knowledge. She never accomplished that and I am very sad that she did not have the opportunity. She was one of the most experienced, artistic women I have ever known and I will treasure my memories and the beautiful quilt I made in one of her very first classes. I am sure there are many women in this city who will think of Ann with fondness and smiles as they remember her and look at the treasures Ann helped them to create.
She was devout in her faith. Her love of sewing became her passion which followed her all her life. She loved sharing and teaching this art which she continued to master, learning pattern drawing and design.
She was loved by all and lived a full and happy life. May she rest in peace. She will always live in my memories and I thank her for sharing her special gift with me.
That’s what memories are made of!
Source: Beautiful Butte Blog