Zandra Nilsen, age 73, passed away unexpectedly on August 1, 2023, in Sandy, Utah from complications following a recent surgery. She was born on March 31, 1950, in Flagstaff, Arizona to Walter Johannessen and Jessie Dagsland Meling. She married the love of her life, Thor Nilsen on December 6, 1968, in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Zandra loved children and they loved her. She gave birth to 5 children after almost giving up due to medical problems with both conceiving and maintaining pregnancies. She was the fun-maker and instigator of many pranks in the family. Everyone loved her and her great sense of humor. She loved all kinds of animals, allowing her children to grow up with dogs, cats, pet snakes, tarantulas, and iguanas. In her small backyard, one might find goats, rabbits, and even a full-size horse that needed constant treatment for a bad leg. She was the go-to person in the neighborhood for problems with their pets as well as their children. She helped with the whelping of her own dogs, as well as many friends’ dogs. At one time she was a volunteer docent at Hogle Zoo taking various exotic animals to public schools. She was an avid dog trainer, winning many awards in Obedience as well as Confirmation. She loved her well-trained service dogs who travelled with her almost everywhere. She was an active member of the Great Salt Lake Dog Training Club.
When her eldest daughter married a soldier and they eventually settled in his hometown of Pittsburgh PA, she found the church she had been looking for all her life – Nottingham Christian Center in Eightyfour Pennsylvania. Her soul resonated with the Gospel of love preached and practiced there. Even though she was only able to visit her church occasionally, she had many close friends there, especially her pastor, Bill Lusk.
Survived by her husband Thor Nilsen; five children Christopher Arne (Rebecca) Nilsen, Jennifer (John) Hartt, Heidi (Jason) Brower, Leif Spencer (Jennifer) Nilsen, and Jon Michael (Heather Dangerfield) Nilsen; sister Inger Johannessen of Norway, Arne Martin Meling of Norway, Susan Weggersen of Norway, Heidi Linn Meling of Norway; and long-time friend, Inger Johanne Pedersen of Norway; her grandchildren Dakota Nilsen, Teagan Jones, Zaiden Nilsen, Aspen Nilsen, Brooke Nilsen, Jakob Brower, Emma Brower, and Savannah Brower. Preceded in death by her parents Jessie (Arne) Meling and Walter Johannessen.
Loved you Yesterday, Love you Still, Always Have, Always Will.
Friends are invited to greet the family at the viewing on Sunday, August 6th from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at Larkin Sunset Gardens, 1950 E. Dimple Dell Rd. (10600 S.), Sandy. Funeral services will be held on Monday, August 7th at 11:00 AM with a viewing one hour prior to services also at Larkin Sunset Gardens. Interment to follow services at Utah Veterans Memorial Park, 17111 S. Camp Williams Rd., Bluffdale. For those unable to attend, services will be streamed via Zoom.
Life Story Info
Zandra's warmth and wonderful humour despite the shadow of her pain were an inspiration to me. Her love for Thor, her dogs and her family permeated her being, as did her love for the Lord.
We met in a computer game and a group formed an international team under her leadership.
She leaves a gaping emptiness in so many ways and will be sorely missed.
Warmest condolences to Thor and family.