Petersburg Pilot -

Ravenna Nilsen, 59

 

Ravenna Nilsen passed away in the early morning of August 2nd, 2014 in her home where she had lived, loved and raised a family for 27 years. She was born on January 18th, 1956 to Gwendolyn H. Peacock and William D. Huckins in Anacortes, Washington, where she played as a young child with her three siblings Debbie, Becky and Dugan. With her spiral red locks, big smirk, bossy assertive attitude and demeanor that seemed to demand an embrace, her family nicknamed her "Mama Doll." Ravenna Nilsen's warm heart and empathetic nature so defining in childhood made her precious to her husband, Michael Lawrence Nilsen, and a rock for her children. She was the family tree's roots, the answer to life's questions, and the arms that held you. She was a comfort and a symbol of truth at the end of lessons learned.

During and after the birth of her son, Mikey, she was a frizzy haired deckhand working on Michael's boat, the Sandy Point Maid, gillnetting with him out of Port Townsend, WA. They picked salmon from the web, watched their son grow up behind the galley table, took photos of their baby boy in the wheelhouse pulling at his father's beard while they navigated Hood Canal. Laboring together on the sea and raising their son, they fell in love and were husband and wife for 30 years.

She was the music her family woke up to in the early mornings, oldies blaring through the speakers, welcoming syrup, fried halibut and biscuits. She was the voice heard up and down the neighborhood of North 3rd Street calling her children Mikey and Alenna home after summer days of playing in tree forts and making mud pies in the puddles of October. She was a strong woman, a devoted wife of a year-round fisherman, who drove out to Hungry Point time and time again with her children in the frosty mornings and evenings to wave and send kisses in the gusts of wind to her husband, flash lighting him home as he came around the red can, safely back from tanner crabbing to his eager family.

She was the mother slamming her hands on the wrestling mat with passion cheering on her son and daughter to victories; all could hear her booming voice throughout the Petersburg High School gym. She was an impassioned and honest voice within the Petersburg community, the enchanting and bluesy Street Beat voice at KFSK on Wednesdays, the dill mincing, halibut simmering, cooking hands behind the creamy seafood chowder at her food cart "Oh My Cod," which she owned for many years.

Ravenna was a compassionate, dedicated and laborious Certified Nursing Assistant at Petersburg Medical Center for over 8 years. She guided more people out of this world with dignity and understanding than most people could ever bear. She was the most loving, giving and wise human being that any in her family had ever known, teaching them to respect and accept all people for who they are, to live both passionately and compassionately. She gave and inspired unimaginable strength in her family and community throughout her life. As one of her dear friends said shortly after Ravenna passed, "The music still plays, but it will never sound the same."

A celebration of life for Ravenna Nilsen, remembrance and the spreading of her ashes will be held Saturday, May 9th, 2015 at Sandy Beach Park where Ravenna enjoyed walks and playing with her dogs. Family, friends and all are welcome to come. Time and specific details to be announced closer to the date of celebration.

 

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