Connie was born at home in St. Paul, Minnesota. She was the fifth of six children born to Nora (Loetterle) Heyne and Rev. Edwin Theodore Heyne.
She grew up in Lutheran parsonages in St. Paul and Long Prairie, Minnesota.
The thread that carried her throughout her life was singing the sacred music of her faith. Connie loved all of the facets of Church Liturgy and she loved to sing. Whether she was soloing, singing in a choir, listening to others sing, leading a choir or giving voice lessons, she was the most alive. She also loved playing the piano and the pipe organ. She would direct the church choirs with her head while playing the organ with her hands and feet. And we all loved singing with her.
Connie was the daughter of a minister and while completing her Bachelor of Music, with a Major in Voice (of course) at the St. Louis Institute of Music she met and then married Charles Nahnsen, who was completing his ministerial studies at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis.
They married in 1949 and then headed out to California where two of her sisters lived. Their first call was to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Red Bluff, which was when Victoria and Mark were born. Their next parish was Messiah Lutheran Church in Santa Cruz where Emily was born. From Santa Cruz they flew across the ocean to serve at Christ Lutheran Church in Hilo, Hawaii where Lisa Luana was born. Their last and longest parish was Immanuel Lutheran Church in Alameda.
Connie and Chuck loved their lives. Their commitment and love for their faith and the church and their commitment and love for each other and their family was their foundation and their joy.
Connie loved living across the bay from The City. Connie and Chuck and their daughter Tori had season tickets to the symphony which they joyously attended. With family and friends, Connie attended countless musical and theatrical events in the Bay Area. Connie was one of the earliest members of the Bay Area Lutheran Chorale, now known as Soli Deo Gloria. She sang in her beloved choir for over 20 years. She loved to sing and when she sang, she always had a smile on her face.
Connie’s four sisters Essie, Ruth, Lois and Carmen, and even her brother Ed for a while, all settled in the Bay Area. Of her siblings she shared, “Their friendship has been a priceless gift.”
Other gifts that she had and shared were creating a beautiful home. On a minister’s and music teacher’s budget, she would create beauty out of objects like manzanita branches that she would bring back from Lake Tahoe summer vacations. She created a colorful pallet in our home with pieces of beautiful cloth and artwork on every wall, including her own watercolor paintings. She painted rooms and furniture. She once painted our kitchen table, Chinese Red. Boy did that thing pop. Our home was filled with color and art.
Into this home she hosted countless dinners and other gatherings with family and friends, including other ministers and their families. There was always laughter and joy at these gatherings. The food was always good and the wine was always flowing.
Connie and Chuck also loved to travel. Their farthest adventures took them to The Holy Land, Egypt and Russia. Connie sang in choirs that toured in Europe on two occasions. Music was her passion and joy.
Connie has joined Chuck and her siblings Essie, Ruth, Lois and Ed in God’s heaven. She leaves behind her younger sister Carmen Aiken (Andrew), her children Victoria Nahnsen (Larry Tierney), Mark Nahnsen (Wendy Weinrich), Emily Nahnsen (Chad Williams) and Lisa Skubis (Bob) as well as 8 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.
A few days before she passed, the hospice chaplain and the music therapist came and sang for her. Even though she wasn’t responding, we knew that she loved it and that she was already in heaven…… singing.
The Nahnsen family would like to express our deepest gratitude to the staff at Twin Lakes Manor in Santa Cruz for their tender, loving care of our Mom during the last 3 years of her life.
Donations may be made in Connie’s name to Soli Deo Gloria at sdgloria.org or to Hospice of Santa Cruz at hospicesantacruz.org
A service for Connie will be held at 1:00 pm on September 21, 2019 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Alameda. We will be celebrating with music