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Grace Marie (Slack) Nilsson, age 65, of Allegan, passed away Monday, July 16, 2018 after a long, hard-fought battle with autoimmune disorders. She was the cherished wife of Tomas (Patrik) Nilsson. 

Grace was a graduate of Plainwell High School and devoted her entire career to being an educator, advocate and facilitator in the Head Start and human services programs for 40 years, primarily at the Allegan County administration building. At holidays, she helped ensure that families in need received food and gifts. She dedicated several years to leading and supporting Girl Scouts, by way of bringing new troops to the area spearheading fundraisers, day and week-long camping, science exhibitions, museums and international travel. 
As her disease progressed and she became disabled, she found it extremely difficult to attend church, so she communed with God directly, from home. She enjoyed listening to Christian music and did her best to continue her Christian path as she was able. Grace was a passionate believer in fairness, justice, equality, opportunity and above all, kindness and love for everyone. 
She is preceded in death by her parents, Edwin and Bessie (Moses) Slack, two brothers, Virgil Simmons, Jr. and Jay Simmons, and her sister Violet Slack. Surviving are her two remaining sisters, Ruth Srackangast of Blanco, TX, and Jeanine (Rick) Handy of Allegan, MI and her daughter Marcy (Linnea) Johnson of Winchester, MA. 
Where there is hatred, let me sow love. 
Where there is hurt, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith. 
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light. 
Where there is sadness, joy. 
O Divine Master; grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; for it is in pardoning that we are pardoned and in dying that we are born to eternal life. 
     – Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi
Honoring her wishes, cremation and tissue donation will take place. To send a message of sympathy to the family, sign Grace’s online guestbook or to share a favorite memory, please
Arrangements are entrusted to Michigan Cremation & Funeral Care, Grand Rapids.  


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9 Condolences

  1. Mindy Becker on July 19, 2018 at 8:26 pm

    I worked with Grace for 13 years, she was always such a sweet lady. We would always talk about her childhood as we both had 4H backgrounds. She will be missed, and her voice will never be forgotten. My condolences goes out to her family

  2. Patrik Nilsson on July 19, 2018 at 8:28 pm

    Grace loved comedies, but it was very seldom that she found things laugh out loud funny. So it was very unexpected, and thoroughly such a joy when we were watching comedian and daily show host Trevor Noah’s Netflix special, and I heard her laugh so hard. This was about a week before she passed away, and I will always remember it, and be thankful to Mr. Noah for unbeknownst to him giving Grace an hour of sheer, unadulterated joy.

  3. Linda kaylor on July 19, 2018 at 9:00 pm

    I worked with Grace through the Head Start program for many many years. She was so passionate about serving the kids and the families through the program. She was a kind and gentle soul, but a fire cracker if she gadva point to be made or an opinion to be heard. I loved that about her. I jokingly called her my fellow Democratic warrior. She was liberal by heart and wasnt afraid to tell you how she felt. She has been missed since she had to leave her position at the agency. May she rest in peace and her family find comfort…

  4. Tina walker on July 19, 2018 at 10:43 pm

    I worked with Grace through the head start program for many years she was a sweet and caring person.I remember Grace calling me into her office one time because I messed up on my paper work.I wrote man and it should of been mandarin she said really Tina a man we laughed about my mistake yes she make me fix it. Grace you will be dearly missed by many.

  5. April Buck Kelly on July 19, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    Grace was a mentor, a teacher and friend. She will be missed :)

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