I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness... II Timothy 4:7
Sarena Danielle (Lewis) Nourse, age 35, passed from the arms of her loving husband Nathan into the arms of her loving Saviour on Sunday, February 7, 2021. Ewing’s Sarcoma, and its treatments and side effects, had ravaged her body but had never subdued her spirit.
Sarena will be remembered as a devoted and loyal wife, mother, daughter, nurse, family member, and friend. The oldest of seven, she was born on April 4, 1985, to Mark and Dorothy (Begalka) Lewis. Her childhood was spent in Jordan, MN, where she was active in her school and community, graduating from JHS in 2003. Activities there included speech, drama, and cheerleading.
Being a nurse had been a dream since childhood and she pursued it vigorously. She earned an Associate of Science in Nursing degree in 2007 and went on to complete a Bachelor's Degree in 2012. She was continually learning, completing numerous certifications in a variety of specialties, and earning awards for patient care at Fairview Southdale Hospital, where she worked the majority of her career as an RN. It was fitting that her final days were spent there, surrounded by colleagues who spoke highly of her as a friend, nurse, patient advocate, and mentor.
Sarena and Nathan had a ‘modern fairy tale’ romance, meeting online through a Christian dating service in 2010, and marrying on June 18, 2011. They both recognized that God had saved them for the perfect soul mate. Nathan completed his teaching degree after they married, but chose to provide care for the children while Sarena pursued her career.
After the boys were born, and two moves, they settled into their current house in Richfield. Sarena truly made it a home, always looking to add ‘little touches’ to the house and yard for comfort, beauty, and hospitality. She strove to provide rich spiritual, recreational, and educational opportunities for her children. In hopes of a long life together, and a home in rural Wisconsin, the family acquired a dog in 2019 and named her ‘Hope’.
Always setting her goals high, Sarena aspired to become a Nurse Anesthetist, entering the program in 2018. Although she had to take a year off, after the diagnosis in March 2019, she was ecstatic to be given clean scans and return to the program in 2020. The summer was spent interning at Methodist Hospital and she was so fulfilled! The dream was cut short when cancer returned in the fall.
Sarena was a tenacious fighter throughout her cancer journey. She advocated for herself relentlessly, investigating and utilizing both conventional and alternative treatments. Her positive attitude, the grace of God, and the prayers of hundreds of people kept her and her family afloat during the many ups and downs. They are eternally grateful for the love and support shown them. This past December, for example, the Nourse family was chosen by the Best Christmas Ever organization to be the recipient of many generous gifts.
Sarena and her family were members of Five Oaks Church in Woodbury and were active in its small group ministry, where they made many long-time friends. Sarena’s faith in God and her love for people led her on numerous mission trips to Latin American countries over her lifetime.
Deeply grieving a life cut short are her husband, Nathan, and their children, Rowan (12-15-2012), Kellan (4-17-14), and Kaitlyn (1-28-17). She is also survived by her parents, Mark and Dorothy Lewis (Jordan); grandmother, Elizabeth Begalka (Clear Lake, SD); and siblings, Michelle (Dan) Kopperud of Chaska, Nate (Cinthia) Lewis of Burnsville, Danny (Kelly) Lewis of Northfield, Andrew Lewis of Fort Worth, Carissa Lewis of Dallas, and Abbie (Dan Dawson) of Apple Valley. The Nourse family, which had truly become her own, includes Nathan’s father, Gary and his wife Angela; and grandmother, Jean Nourse, of South St. Paul; Nathan’s sister, Cassie (Mike) Krueger and brother, Jared (Naomi) Nourse live near Hudson, WI. Sarena was the proud aunt to fifteen nieces and nephews. She also leaves a large circle of aunts, uncles, cousins, work and school colleagues, and dear friends.
Family members preceding her include her grandparents James (Tex) and Elaine Lewis, Leon Begalka, and Nathan’s mother Jan Nourse.
Memorials are preferred by the family for the children’s educational fund.
Visitation was at Bradshaw Celebration of Life Center, 2800 Curve Crest Boulevard, Stillwater from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 13. The visitation was walk-through style due to COVID constraints of social distancing and building capacity regulations. Masks are required and no food will be served.
A Memorial Service was held on Monday, February 15 by invitation only, due to COVID regulations. For those unable to attend, the service will be live streamed at https://youtu.be/jVu5in_ZFSE