Ira Roland Nissen was born May 14, 1921, in rural Sanish. On Aug. 11, 2014, his family was at his side and as the sun was rising, God reached out and took Ira’s hands. At the close of hearing Psalm 23, read by his granddaughter, Ira took his last breath and was escorted home by angels.
He was a North Dakota farm boy, eldest of seven children born to William and Ruth Ellen Nissen. He graduated from Van Hook High School. As a young man during the Depression he worked for the CCCs. He served in the Army during World War II. His tour of duty took him through North Africa, Italy, France, Germany and Belgium.
His wife of 52 years, Pearl, preceded him in death as did a son, Richard.
He is survived by two sons, one daughter, 15 grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; two sisters, Betty Johnson, Kenmare, and Nina Uran, New Town; and a sister-in-law, Marilyn Nissen, of Moorhead, Minn.
Professor Nissen graduated from Minot State in 1949. He received his master’s degree in business administration at University of Colorado in Denver. He taught at Oregon State University, Idaho State, Montana State, and at University of Las Vegas in Nevada among others. He was a pioneer in computer education and his programs for TRS-80 are in the Internet Archives.
His influence on the lives of those he touched went on in his missionary work. He was a counselor for the Billy Graham Crusade I in Las Vegas and a member of the Gideons International, traveling to Russia and Africa to serve. He also worked with San Francisco SOS. He wrote three books documenting these experiences and his adventures walking while carrying the cross. He walked across the state of North Dakota, down the Pacific Coast Highway, and in South Korea. He walked with his cross in many places and touched the lives of so many. He considered his friends as his family, and his students were his children.
Last year as he sat at his computer he wrote, “God has set a time when He plans to call me home.” He did not want prayers that would hold him back from glory. Ira was 93 years old.
When he left this earth you could hear his voice singing, “This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice”
A graveside service was held on Wednesday, Aug. 20 at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, Ore.