« Back to Obituaries

Elsie "Grace"  Van Der Werff

Elsie "Grace" Van Der Werff

August 8, 2018

Grace Van Der Werff

Grace Van Der Werff, 94, of Eau Claire, died early in the morning on Wednesday, August 8, 2018, in her home. Her death followed a brief but fierce battle with pancreatic cancer.

She was a very quiet, private person who kept mostly to herself but she was an avid reader and a person who loved to travel. She had a sharp mind, a vigorous curiosity and an inquisitiveness second to none. She was trained as an elementary school teacher and was fluent in Spanish, reading books written in Spanish for fun. Though many people in their 90’s are hesitant to learn new technology, Grace was adept at using her laptop computer and spent a lot of time texting her grandchildren and children on her iPhone. She never hesitated to enroll in a class she heard about being offered if it was a subject that she was curious to learn something new about.

Grace shared her long life with three spouses all of whom she outlived, Ralph Wesley Nichols, Sr., Jakob Van Der Werff and Ernest Paterson.

She is survived by her four children, Beverly Smith of Eau Claire, Hayden Mallon and Deborah Nichols of Morrison Colorado and Ralph Wesley Nichols, Jr. of Chevy Chase, Maryland; nine grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren; sister, Amy Ellison of Meridian of Idaho; cousin, Kenneth McGuire of Fairchild, Iowa and many nieces and nephews who are scattered all over this country.

At Grace’s request there will be no funeral or memorial service, but a private celebration of her life will be held by her family. Any gifts given in her memory may be sent to the American Cancer Society.

Chippewa Valley Cremation Services of Altoona is serving the family.


Private family service will be held at a later date.

Florist Information



  • Cheri Henderson So very sorry to hear of your loss, Bev and family. Thanks for the memories, Grace!

    August 20 at 10:03pm

  • Pam and Steve McWhirter The obituary for Grace was so true....so full of life. She was an amazing woman and will be missed. We are so sorry for the family‚Äôs loss. Loved her and you all.

    August 12 at 4:49pm

Send Condolences. Click here to send a condolence

Eau Claire Pre-Planning Services