Obituary: Nellis Riisberg, 90, Scottville.

May 23, 2017

Nellis Riisberg

Obituary: Nellis Riisberg, 90, Scottville.


Nellis Harnau Riisberg, 90, of Scottville, peacefully passed away on May 22, 2017, at his home with his family by his side.

Born on August 7, 1926, at 4:44 a.m. to Erhardt and Susie Harnau Riisberg in Muskegon, Nellis attended school in Muskegon and enlisted in the Navy in 1944, and served on the DE-6 USS Wyffels, DE-147 USS Blair and DE-172 USS Cooner.  After returning from the service in 1946, he bought a motorcycle that needed repairs and painting.  He went to the Walt Upman Body Shop to check out painting options and was later hired by Walt to paint cars and refrigerators.

Nellis married Arlene Jensen on November 8, 1947, at Samuel Lutheran Church in Muskegon.  While he was in sales for Industrial Electronics covering the western half of Michigan, Nellis and Arlene decided to purchase Dumas TV & Radio and moved to Scottville in 1952.  Nellis co-founded the Scottville Optimist Club and was a Lifetime Member of Optimist International.  He served in many roles for Mason County, including Scottville Fire Department, emergency services coordinator, Mason County road commissioner, Mason County Sheriff’s Office victim advocate, and assessor for multiple townships.  

Nellis was a member of the Destroyer Escort Sailors Association, Michigan Sailors, and The American Legion Post 0076, and he enjoyed sharing stories from his Navy days.  On June 8, 2016, Nellis and Richard (his son) joined 62 Veterans on the Mid-Michigan Honor Flight Mission V to Washington, D.C.  He was also a member of the Fin & Feather Club of Mason County and a charter member of the Sons of Norway Songefjord 523 in Muskegon.  His many interests included being a ham radio operator, pilot, rock collector, hunter, fisherman, water douser, and many other hobbies.

Nellis was preceded in death in 2011 by his wife Arlene of 63 years.  He was also preceded in death by his parents, and sisters, Katherine Neighbors DeWolfe and Jean Maddox.

Surviving are his son Richard A. (Mary) of Kaleva, and daughters, Janine S. of Ludington and Virginia A. of Grandville.  He is also survived by his sister-in-law and brother-in-law Jeanne and Owen Daniels of Muskegon, nieces and nephew; his special friend Sandra Christensen, and feline friends – Annie, Babe and Uggy.

Visitation will be held May 25, 2017, 5 to 7 p.m., at Oak Grove Funeral Home and Cremation Center of Ludington.  Funeral services will be held on Friday, May 26, 2017, at 11 a.m. at Our Savior Lutheran Church, Scottville with Pastor John Hansen officiating with visitation one hour prior to the service.  Graveside services will be held at the Riverside Cemetery in Custer immediately following the service.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions in Nellis’ memory to Our Savior Lutheran Church or Mid-Michigan Honor Flight (P.O. Box 385, Mecosta MI 49332).

Please share your fond memories of Nellis at

Arrangements were entrusted to Oak Grove Funeral Home & Cremation Center of Ludington.

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