LouJean Allison Nilsson closed her eyes and smiled.
“That’s beautiful,” she said softly as her granddaughter finished singing “Families Can Be Together Forever.” It was the sentiment that mattered most to her in almost 90 years of life, and it mattered most Jan. 6, 2021 as she passed from this life and reunited with her husband.
LouJean was born March 16, 1931, in Ogden, Utah, the daughter of Roger and Golda Allison. She adored her parents.
At age 13, she marched with a baton for the Polk School band. Her smile was as wide as the world. If there was a club to join, LouJean would join it, then lead it. For decades, she graced the pages of community newspapers as a leader and socialite.
In 1951, Weber College announced the finalists for queen of the ball. Among them was “LouJean Allison,” the newspaper said, “whose interest lies in the medical field, namely Dick Nilsson.” The name of the winner was lost to history, but her romance with the dashing soon-to-be doctor lived on.
Richard and LouJean Nilsson were married Sept. 4, 1952, in the Salt Lake Temple.
LouJean was deeply proud of her husband’s work. The couple built a life and medical practice in North Ogden. They worked hard and played hard — boating, skiing, always up for an adventure. LouJean’s three children were her greatest gift. She was an unwavering, angelic force in their lives.
In the 1970s and 80s, LouJean was president of the women’s county and state medical auxiliaries. She raised disease awareness in schools and supported community health screenings. She brought in funds for scholarships and cancer research. She hosted brunch, golf tournaments, and the bowling league.
LouJean served on the hospital foundation and the city’s beautification committee. She was driven to leave things better than she found them, to make them beautiful.
She did it with people, too.
“You have always been a lady amongst women,” wrote a sweet friend, one of hundreds who had watched her with awe, even as she made them feel like the special one.
If LouJean’s visibility in the community was impactful, her anonymity was transcendent. She knew the thrill of leaving a Thanksgiving dinner on the porch of a family in need and sneaking away. She didn’t know about the eyes watching through the darkness as she knelt in prayer. But her example of faith was forever etched in the heart of a young daughter creeping past her mother’s bedroom.
LouJean loved Jesus Christ and his church. She was an inspiring relief society president and music director. She sang and played the piano. She was a master in things of the heart.
LouJean made life magical for her grandchildren. She pulled out her fine china and stemware for them, because people mattered more than things. A sleepover at Grandma Lou’s meant waking up to crisp Belgian waffles and three flavors of syrup.
Her grandchildren took it for granted, as children do, and she wanted it that way. She wanted them to feel heaven on earth. But as they grew up, they looked deep into their memories and saw Grandma cooking and cleaning, always moving. They imagined her going to bed with sore feet and an aching back. And they cried tears of gratitude that someone loved them like that.
In retirement, Dick and LouJean moved south, first to their dream home on a golf course in Mesquite, Nevada, then to St. George, making cherished new friendships wherever they went. They soaked up the beauty of Zion and the warmth of the red rocks. They traveled the world, always learning and serving.
Nothing made LouJean happier than a visit from her family. Her laugh burst out with brightness. Together, they explored and golfed and ate lemon meringue pie. The kids watched the ducks in the pond through the window.
The little one left a handprint on the glass. Six months later, the print was still there. Grandma Lou had carefully cleaned around it, preserving each tiny fingertip that filled her heart with love.
LouJean’s memory continues with her 10 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren, who try to be like her. But they never really will, and they want it that way. She was one-of-a-kind. Her magic and majesty will live forever in their hearts.
In the last days of her life, LouJean felt the tender support of caregivers at Legacy House in Bountiful. A worldwide pandemic created a barrier for her goodbyes. She smiled through the window while her great-grandchildren pressed their hands against the pane, a symbol of the veil that would soon form between this life and the next.
The little one left a handprint on the glass. As they walked away, the sun caught the window’s reflection, and sweet Grandma Lou — lovely, loving Grandma Lou — faded into the light.
LouJean was preceded in death by her husband of almost 65 years, Richard, and her brothers, Blaine and Jim Allison. She is survived by her children: Terri (Jim) Kane, of St. George; Brett (Nancy) Nilsson, of Layton; Sharon (Bob) Richardson, of Bountiful.
Private family services will be hosted by Lindquist Mortuary. A recording of the services will be posted at lindquistmortuary.com on Jan. 18 for friends to enjoy.
Condolences may be shared at: www.lindquistmortuary.com.