Janis Irene Quist Hillila


Janis Irene Quist Hillila, age 81, passed away August 25, 2021 at Twin Ports Rehab , Memory Care Unit, Superior, WI. She was born in Superior to Irene Gandrud Quist and Elmer Quist.

Jan graduated from Central High School and was in the Class of 1958, later bartended at the Poodle Lounge, and Log Cabin in Itasca. She was one of the original waitresses at the Town Crier, making many friends there. Eventually, she moved to Bruce Crossing, Michigan and enjoyed making more friends as a bartender and also worked at the Co-op. Being that she was such a social person, it was fitting that when she moved back to Superior, she became a greeter at Walmart. Wherever and whenever she went out, she was known to say, “Do you know me? I work at Walmart.”

Memories from her four children include her being being compared to an easily gullible Lucille Ball, as she loved being teased by her brother, Pete, and son, Dave, being a fun hockey mom to Moose and his brothers, teaching Wendy and Butch to swim while staying at the family cabin at Lake Amnicon, loving the beach and and all outdoors and winters while snowmobiling on her Motoski Cadet. In fact, she belonged to the all girls snowmobile club, the Snow Snakes in Itasca. She was also an avid Viking fan, loved singing, sometimes at the Itasca Presbyterian Church when she was able, and most recently singing All I Have to Do Is Dream by the Everly Brothers on the phone with her daughter in Florida. (at perfect pitch, per Jan), embarrassing her kids by yelling across the Walmart store when she spotted them while she was working.

When Jan was about 7 she had a baby brother, Pete. After realizing she was no longer the only child she left him on the corner in his baby buggy, hoping someone would steal him. No such luck!

Jan played the base bugle, while belonging to the all women Indianhead Drum and Bugle Corp, which was disbanded in 1956. It was affiliated with the VFW. In 1986 she joined the newly resurrected Superior Drum and Bugle Corp, Inc. This was a very important part of her life.

She can be remembered hobbling with her walker, but when she realized there was pie at her destination, she became an olympic sprinter. In her past nine months at Twin Ports Rehab and Memory Care she was very happy and comfortable. Her family had the opportunity to enjoy some memorable moments with her. She was listening to prerecorded Gospel and 50’s rock ‘n roll music put together by her son, David, right up to her passing. Also, we, as a family would like to gratefully thank Twin Ports Rehab, along with Inclusa and New Perspectives Betty’s Harbor for her prior care. A special thanks to the Walmart staff and Courtesy Cab for going out of their way to accommodate Jan.

Jan’s survivors include 3 sons, David Hillila, Duluth, MN, Butch/Gerald, (Eileen) Hillila, Wis. Rapids, WI, Moose/Eric, (Avalon) Sedalia, CO. a daughter, Wendy Hillila, Fort Meyers Beach, FL, granddaughter, Olivia (Erik) Voie, Wis. Rapids, WI, grandson, Seth Hillila, Denver, CO. A brother, Pete(Donna) Quist, Superior, WI , nephew, Brett(Shawn) Quist, Superior, WI and a niece, Amy(Matt) Ramsey, Tucson, AZ, sister-in-law Sharon Hillila Schwoch (Manfred) Boulder, CO, plus cousins.

Proceeding Jan in death were her parents, Irene Gandrud Quist and Elmer Quist, and Jerry Hillila, the father of their children.

At Jan’s request there will be no service. She will be interned at Graceland Cemetery, with Downs Funeral Home at 1617 N. 19th Street in charge. A gathering of family and friends will be planned at a later date.

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