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Big Rapids Daily News

Nicole LeAnn Neitzel, 36 of Big Rapids, Michigan passed away on Monday, August 1, 2016 surrounded by her loving family and close friends at Grand Rapids Metro Health Hospital. She was born March 31, 1980, in Big Rapids, the daughter of Philip and Janet (Besonen) Neitzel.


Nicole was a soft spoken woman who always had a smile on her face and a great sense of humor.  She loved to travel and in particular with her family throughout the great lakes region.  Visiting family in the Upper Peninsula often and exploring Mackinac Island, Traverse City, Muskegon’s Michigan Adventure and Hershey Park, Pennsylvania amongst other destinations.  She was an avid NASCAR fan and looked forward to annual trips to the Michigan International Speedway with her sister Katina each August.  She enjoyed Packer Backer trips with her father Phil to Lambeau Field, visiting Door County and relatives in Wisconsin.  In her youth she made an epic camping trip to Alaska with her Uncle David, Aunt Joanne and Katina.  She loved good books and movies, cowboy boots, camping, swimming and saunas.  She was a lover of bright colors and “bling”, jewelry, pedicures and manicures.  She loved all animals and her beloved cat Gizmo, dogs Gracie and Max will miss her.

Nicole graduated from Big Rapids High School in 1999 and attended Ferris State University pursuing a degree in elementary education.  She worked at Walmart as a sales associate since 1999 and was a former child care provider and also volunteered as one at St Peters Lutheran Church where she was a member.


She is survived by her beloved parents Philip & Janet (Besonen) Neitzel, and her sister and best friend Katina of Big Rapids.  Uncles Kenneth (Jennifer) Neitzel, David (Barbara) Neitzel, Douglas (Vicki ) Neitzel, Daniel Neitzel, David (Joanne) Besonen and Donald (Nancy) Besonen.  Step-Uncles John (Maxine) Kallies, Doug (Charlene) Kallies.  Aunts Deborah (Al) Quast, Joan (Anthony) Haigh, Gail (David) Meinert and Pamela Besonen.  Step-Aunts Alice Kallies, Karen (Bob) Young and Mariette (Joe) Piencikowski and many cousins.  She is also survived by her close friends Sarah Thompson and Ronda Taylor. Nicole is a special aunt to Reese Thompson and Avery Slendebroek. 


Nicole was preceded in death by her infant brother Greg, Grandparents Martin and Evelyn Neitzel (Kallies) and Waino and Alice Besonen, step-Grandfather Lawrence Kallies, Uncle Gordon Neitzel and step-Uncle Leonard Kallies.


You are invited to join in celebrating Nicole’s life by joining her friends and family at Mohnke’s Funeral Home for visitation on Friday, August 5th from 4 to 7 p.m. and again at 10 a.m. on Saturday.  Nicole’s Celebration of Life service will be held on Saturday, August 6th at 11 a.m. at St Peters Lutheran Church in Big Rapids with Pastor John Bookshaw officiating.  Burial will be in Highland View Cemetery with a luncheon following in the church fellowship hall.


Nicole had a lot of Finnish SISU and German spunk which helped her throughout and in particular with her lifelong battle with Diamond Black Fan Anemia and since March with esophageal cancer. 

The family suggests that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the following:  Diamond Black Fan Anemia at DBA Foundation PO Box 1092, West Seneca, NY 14224 or  or Smile Train PO Box 96231, Washington, DC 20090-2631, /donate

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