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Mary L. Nielsen, age 77, of Greenville, passed away Sunday, September 13, 2020 at Spectrum Health-Blodgett Hospital in East Grand Rapids following a sudden illness.

Born on January 14, 1943 in Greenville, Mary grew up in Trufant and earned her high school diploma from Lakeview High School.  On July 9, 1958, she married Gary Nielsen and together they raised two children and divorced after 25 years of marriage.

Mary also worked outside the home for the United States Postal Service, serving for many years as Postmaster of Trufant.  In retirement, she worked as a paraprofessional at Cedar Crest and Lincoln Heights Elementary Schools.  She was a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church, enjoyed playing “Words with Friends”, but found her greatest joy in time spent with her family  —  especially her grandchildren.  She delighted in attending their school and athletic events.

On April 9, 1985, in Panama City, Florida, she married Reginald G. “Reggie” Towers and together they enjoyed almost 15 years of marriage until he passed away on March 7, 2000.  She was also preceded in death by her mother, Elizabeth Jane “Betty” Norton-Wilson;  an uncle and aunt, Manus & Pat Norton;  a special cousin, Mindy G. Norton.

Surviving are her daughter and son-in-law, Tara & Jim Babbitt;  a son, Larry Nielsen;  her grandchildren, Trevor Nielsen, Mitchell Babbitt, Jack Babbitt, Lilly Babbitt, Elizabeth & Brandon Arntz;  a brother and sister-in-law, Jim & Bonnie Wilson;  two nephews, Chad Wilson and Eric Wilson; her significant other of the past 20 years, Ted Cowles, and his family;  and her former husband and the father of her children, Gary Nielsen.

Visitation with the family is from 10-11 a.m. on Friday, September 18, 2020 at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 9844 S.W. Greenville Road, Greenville, where memorial services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, with the Rev. Betsy Kamphuis, pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church officiating.

Instead of flowers, Mary would have appreciated memorial contributions to the Greenville Area Ecumenical Food Mission (in care of St. Paul Lutheran Church).  Envelopes will be available at the church.

To send a message of sympathy to the family, sign Mary’s online guest book, or to share a favorite memory, please visit:

Cremation arrangements were entrusted to Christiansen’s Michigan Cremation & Funeral Care, Greenville, (616) 754-5638.


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14 Condolences

  1. Ron Petersen on September 17, 2020 at 11:16 pm

    Larry & Tara so sorry to hear of your loss. Growing up in Trufant I naturally knew Mary my whole life. I would run into her & Ted frequently in Greenville and enjoyed catching up with her. She will be greatly missed. Please know my thoughts and prayers are with you all.

  2. Julie Slentz on September 18, 2020 at 10:47 am

    After knowing Mary for 70 plus years, there are many memories and stories – the Trufant girls. Mary you will be missed and always rememered. Rest in Peace my friend.

  3. Karen Hogan on November 29, 2020 at 6:16 pm

    Today is November 29th and I just learned of Mary’s passing. I’m so upset I’m sick. I have been calling her for two weeks and she never answered. I was concerned maybe she had gotten sick.
    I loved Mary. She was my maid of honor 30 years ago. A fellow postmaster and dear friend. I wish I had Taras phone number. God bless you Mary.

  4. Minda Macias on December 17, 2021 at 8:20 pm

    My condolences to the Nielsen family.

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