Everett Nienhouse

CARLSBAD, CA -- Everett James Nienhouse, 84, of Carlsbad, CA, passed away peacefully on Nov. 17, 2020.

Ev was born in Oak Park, IL, the son of Edward and Gladys Nienhouse. He attended Oak Park High School where he was a national champion hurdler. He graduated from Hope College with B.S in Chemistry, and earned an M.S. from Northwestern University and a Ph.D. from SUNY at Buffalo.

Ev participated in the Hope Vienna Summer School abroad program in 1956 and counted it as one of the fine experiences of his life.

He was married to the late Elaine Vanderbrug for 33 years. They had two children, Eric and Jonathan.

Ev taught at Ferris State University for 30 years and took advantage of numerous sabbatical leave opportunities which took him to the University of Groningen (Neth.) to UNC (Chapel Hill), the SE MO Crime Lab (Cape Girardeau), Dartmouth (Hanover), Montana State (Bozeman) and the University of Colorado at Boulder.

During his tenure at Ferris State University, he was the youngest faculty member to be promoted to full professor in Ferris State's history. He received multiple other honors including being named Distinguished Professor of the Year by his Ferris State colleagues in 1975 and Professor of the Year by Ferris State students in 1980; the Michigan Association of Governing Boards of State College and University Award for excellence in teaching, research and scholarly activities in 1984; and elevation to Distinguished Merit Professor in 1992.

In 2012, Hope College awarded him the Distinguished Alumni of the Year for his significant impact as an educator. His passion for teaching organic chemistry contributed to countless of his students' academic successes and made a difference in the lives of over 4000 students while serving at a variety of schools.

He lost his late wife to cancer in early 1998. Later, while attending his 40th college reunion, he met his lovely wife Erika who also participated in the Vienna Summer School Program in 1956. A reunion romance ensued which magically culminated in their marriage in October of 1999.

They lived a "two coast" life, enjoying lovely Carlsbad California winters and cool Northwestern Michigan summers at his beloved Farm House property. Ev and Erika were married for 21 years and enjoyed many adventures together.

Ev's Dutch background included a kind of mysticism that helped to explain his deep religious faith. He loved sacred choral music, researching the backgrounds of writers and composers of the Great Hymns of the Faith, and playing interesting piano arrangements of these hymns.

He also enjoyed researching topics from the History of the Navajo Code Talkers to the Use of Poisonings in Contemporary Detective Fiction.

His love of life stemmed in large part from his close brush with death at age 39 which led to implantation of a nuclear powered heart pacemaker, his being one of very few in the world. He felt that each day was a gift from God and lived it to its fullest, never shying away from difficult tasks.

He will be remembered by many as a very special and unusual friend.

Ev is survived by his wife, Erika; and his two sons, Jon and Eric.

He was an enthusiastic, multi-talented and good man. We will miss him.

When Tomorrow Starts Without Me

When tomorrow starts without me

Please try to understand

That an angel came and called my name

And took me by the hand

The angel said my place was ready

In Heaven far above

And That I would have to leave behind

All those I Dearly Love

But When I walked through Heaven's Gates

I felt so much at home

For God looked down and smiled at me

And told me "Welcome Home."

So When Tomorrow starts without me

Do not think we're far apart

For every time you think of me

Remember I'm right there in your heart

Poem adapted from "When Tomorrow Starts Without Me", by David M. Romano.

A memorial service is planned for Summer 2021 in Ellsworth, MI. For more information see memories.net and search for "Everett Nienhouse".

Charitable donations may be made to the "Everett Nienhouse Endowed Scholarship" at Rehoboth Christian School, Rehoboth, New Mexico.


To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published by Big Rapids Pioneer on Jan. 7, 2021.
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7 Entries
Nurse Amy, Pacemaker Nurse Lori and I will dearly miss Ev. We watched over his crazy plutonium-powered pacemaker year after year, and he loved that thing. He always loved the eccentric and zany twists life throws at us. He lectured for years about this pacemaker, and in no better place than Los Alamos- all about nuclear power! Ev’s incredible zest for life never stopped. We will miss him.
Brian Jaffe MD
Acquaintance
June 23, 2021
He was a highly intelligent man, loved God and the Lord Jesus, loved music.
Elizabeth Notto
Sister
May 26, 2021
The world needs more teachers like Dr. Nienhouse. I graduated from Ferris in 1980 with degrees in Industrial Chem and Applied Mathematics. If you had told me in HS that I would get a degree in Chemistry, I would have laughed....but Everett made the class fun and interesting with is knowledge, passion and energy. His labs were epic. The “commercials” he filmed with his students, played during our lab intermissions, were hilarious and engaging. They made getting up for the Friday 8am start something to look forward to... even after being out late the night before with those friends who had no Friday classes. I’m sure he would be happy to know I still have my Morrison and Boyd... even after 40 years. Wonderful memories and a great example. RIP Doc!
Ann Wroblewski-von Kreuter
Student
April 30, 2021
The world needs more teachers like Dr. Nienhouse. I graduated from Ferris in 1980 with degrees in Industrial Chem and Applied Mathematics. If you had told me in HS that I would get a degree in Chemistry, I would have laughed....but Everett made the class fun and interesting with is knowledge, passion and energy. His labs were epic. The “commercials” he filmed with his students, played during our lab intermissions, were hilarious and engaging. They made getting up for the Friday 8am start something to look forward to... even after being out late the night before with those friends who had no Friday classes. I’m sure he would be happy to know I still have my Morrison and Boyd... even after 40 years. Wonderful memories and a great example. RIP Doc!
Ann Wroblewski-von Kreuter
Student
April 30, 2021
I feel fortunate to have met Ev in his later years when he was a choir member at San Dieguito United Methodist Church. I admired his wit, his creativity, his musicianship and his wide-ranging interests. An amazing guy. I knew only a fraction of his prior professional accomplishments as chemist and professor. So I was grateful that the obituary provided a summary of his many accomplishments. If my husband Frank and I can arrange to be in Michigan this summer, we'll definitely try to attend his memorial service.
Marilou Kratzenstein
Friend
January 15, 2021
In 1980, I had the good fortune to visit Ev during his sabbatical in North Carolina. We had chosen scallops for the evening meal, amid reports that scallops, especially those in a perfectly round configuration, were merely punched out shark meat. We added extra butter, just to be sure.
He was always generous with his time, was a great sounding board for ideas, and an exponent of perpetual inquiry. No statement would exist in the air for long before a rebound question would emerge.
Whenever impromptu classes were presented during my occasional, joyful, moments of teaching, I would approach their planning with one question in mind - what would Ev do?
Some folks should live forever.
Barring that, they should leave lasting memories.
Viva Everett J. Nienhouse!
Jim Middleton
Student
January 11, 2021
Great teacher, mentor and later roles reversed as a patient and friend of mine. I enjoyed helping thin the herd at the "Nienhouse Deer Ranch" for many a years and later taught my boys to hunt there. I still remember may of the chemistry fundamentals I have taught my own children and residents and still use clinically
He was always thrilled that he had one of the full plutonium driven pacemakers. It never needed replacing. But, it was so old (but functional) that we had to go to medical museum to get a device that would allow us to check on it's settings and function. That always ticked his generous laugh.
Kenneth W Friar MD SFHM
January 9, 2021
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