Stella Nusz

Obituary of Stella Nusz

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Nusz Stella Marjorie Harnisch

Stella Marjorie (Harnisch) Nusz, age 102 of Menno, SD passed away early Sunday, May 21, 2023 at the Menno-Olivet Care Center, Menno, SD.  Funeral services will be 11:00 AM, Friday, May 26, 2023 at Salem Reformed Church, Menno, SD with Rev. Michael Hecht officiating.  Burial will be in the Menno Cemetery, Menno, SD.  Online condolences may be sent at:

Stella the youngest of four sisters, was born in the family home to Herman F. and Lydia Zeeb Harnisch, March 22, 1921 in Menno. She was baptized April 17, 1921 by Pastor Wilhelm Langholz and confirmed June 23, 1935 by Pastor Christian Heuler in the Grace Lutheran Church until marriage when she joined Ebenezer and transitioned to Salem Reformed in 1965.

 At the age of three her family moved to the farm her father built on land he purchased, eight miles east of Menno, one-half mile east of Meridian Corner. Her formal education started in a one room rural schoolhouse, Independence, District 86, one-half mile west of her family home. Stella’s home farm was built on land purchased by her father. After completing high school at Freeman Junior College Academy, Stella continued her education at Southern State Normal College in Springfield, South Dakota. After teaching for four years in the same rural school she had attended, she went back to Springfield for her two-year course, which allowed her to teach in ‘town/city’ schools. Stella served as student body president during 1944-45 terms. After graduation, Stella taught in Watertown Grade School until Sam’s return from the service.

One summer break Stella worked in a war factory, operating a machine which produced airplane rivets, a job reminiscent of the iconic WWII woman factory worker, ‘Rosy the Riveter’. Sam A. Nusz while home on a short leave from the Army proposed; they were married a day later, January 30, 1944. It was a seventy-year loving committed union. Stella continued to teach while Sam was overseas. Upon Sam’s discharge, after the war she completed the school term in Watertown then returned with Sam to settle on her home place.

Stella was a dedicated farm wife and mother. She reminisced about how she learned to cook by feeding Sam and his brothers during harvest season. Adjusting to ‘Nusz time’ provided new trials but she stepped up to the challenge: having tasty wholesome meals ready whenever Sam came home anytime between 7 and 10:00 in the evening. She was always prepared. At one time she had two refrigerators, and two chest freezers filled with all kinds of meat, prepared foods, baked goods, and desserts. Baking was a pleasure for Stella: she enjoyed baking and sharing cookies, bars, cakes, kuchen, roles, buns, and bread. A favorite Christmas tradition was baking cookies (barrels full according to Sam) and delivering plates to area people.

Stella was also active in the community. She served as a Girl’s 4-H leader; taught Sunday, Bible, and confirmation school; and served on a number of committees, including the Cancer Society, various church groups, fund raising for the Menno-Olivet Care Center, and Menno Heritage Museum.

Stella had a passion for history, particularly that of her family and community. She and her friends spent hours researching, interviewing people and helping write “Menno, First 100 Years” to commemorate Menno’s 100 anniversary in 1978. She and her friends established the Menno Heritage Museum. Stella along with relatives wrote family history books “The Philipp Nusz and Katharina Mettler Family History” and “The Fred and Caroline Harnish Family History”. Family books included genealogical records, true stories and experience. Stella was interested in and felt it important for descendants to understand the variety and uniqueness of their ancestors’ personalities.

Sam and Stella wanted to record their history as well, because they thought it unfortunate many people knew very little about their parents and grandparents. “Everyone has a story.” Stella wrote many short stories about their individual and family lives. Many of her stories were compiled into “Sam’s Story, South Dakota Through WWII Europe” while others were collected in less formal books and binders.

Stella enjoyed reading a variety of books and publications as long as her sight permitted. The radio or television were on at all times tuned into cooking or news. Stella enjoyed keeping up with national politics. Above all, Stella had many friends of all ages, and had a genuine interest in people. She enjoyed visiting with everyone and relating stories about current and past events. Stella was overheard telling people they could call in the evening, anytime before midnight. Her children were often surprised in her later years, by her knowledge and memories of their friends and classmates during their grade and high school years. 

Like people from Stella's time she saw and adjusted to many memorable and revolutionary things such as the common use of electricity and running water; the change from horse to automobile travel and mechanized farming; medical advances including the development of penicillin; the introduction of airline travel; the space program and man walking on the moon; the development of nuclear power and weapons; the introduction of radio, TV and the computer; the failure of banks and drought during the great depression; WWII; and many other things.

Stella was preceded in death by husband Sam; her parents, Herman F. and Lydia Harnisch; sisters, Evelyn Diede, Leah Harnisch, and Amanda Grosz; and one great grandchild, Owen Nusz.

Survivors are two sons; Philip (Kennis) Nusz, Jeffrey (Linda) Nusz: daughter Norma (Cliff) Nusz Chandler. Ten grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren and 2 great-great grandchildren.

Confirmation verse: He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.   2 Corinthians 12:9

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Funeral service

11:00 am - 11:45 am
Friday, May 26, 2023
Salem Reformed Church
707 South 5th Street
Menno, South Dakota, United States
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Stella Nusz

In Loving Memory

Stella Nusz

1921 - 2023

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