Jack William “Nick” Sigan, age 90, of Stonington, passed away peacefully Thursday evening, April 12, 2018, at Lakeview Assisted Living in Gladstone, in the company of his two daughters.
Nick was born in Gladstone on May 23, 1927 to Nicholas and Sadie Sigan. He graduated from Gladstone High School in 1945 and immediately enlisted in the United States Navy. The war ended just as he shipped out. Nick and his childhood sweetheart, Erna “Bucky” (Sigg) were married in Gladstone on December 27, 1949. They relocated to Lansing, where Nick completed his chemical engineering degree at Michigan State University, graduating in 1951. The Sigans moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota when Nick accepted a job with Archer Daniels-Midland. He worked in the chemical research division for Archer Daniels Midland, later Ashland Oil, then Sherex. The couple lived in Minneapolis for 20 years raising three children. Throughout his career, Nick had several patents filed with the United States Patent Office. He traveled all over the world doing business, often bringing Erna along with him. The Sigans relocated to Worthington, Ohio in 1971. When it came time to retire, the Sigans had one spot in mind, their hometown in Upper Michigan. With this in mind, they bought a parcel of land in 1976 and began to spend vacations up north, camping with family, and clearing the land. Nick and his family first built a shed and a sauna, next, a cabin, and finally in 1990 Nick retired and the Sigans had their dream home built to their specifications: a view of the lake, a large workroom for Nick’s tools, and a roomy living room with a card table waiting for the next game of bridge. Initially, the Sigans planned to winter in a warm place and only live in Michigan in fair weather, but winter in the UP has a lure of its own. In the winters, Grandpa Nick was in high demand —shoveling a part of the lake for a skating rink, drilling holes for ice fishing, and snowmobiling with grandkids perched in front of him. It did not take the Sigans long to find their niche in their old hometown. In the summers they were avid golfers and members of the Gladstone Golf Club. They joined the Stonington Boosters Club, were active at Trinity Lutheran Church, and took many Bay Sages classes at Bay College.
Nick was a company man and a family man, but he was truly a Renaissance man. He was a scientist with an insatiable curiosity about the way the world worked. With the land and lake as his playground, he experimented with making maple syrup (and whiskey), he observed the habits of the inhabitants of his land: he knew the patterns of flight of the bald eagles, where a bear was hibernating, where the porcupine lived, and was relentless in his quest to foil the squirrels from taking Bucky’s food from the birds. Yet he also loved the arts. He loved to paint and sculpt. He loved listening to good music; it could bring a tear to his eye. He was also an inventor: of heating systems and water pumping systems and toys for his grandchildren —including building a toy ship laced with plastic explosives so the kids could launch it into the lake and watch it explode. Bucky’s deck-side weather vane sported a dent from the potato gun Nick built. Nick crafted beautiful furniture — rocking chairs, end tables, and doll furniture, made from wood gleaned from his woods. Nick also liked sports. He loved playing golf, dancing with his wife, watching the Spartans and the Packers, and tossing horse shoes. Finally, this Renaissance man was a thinker and a philosopher. “It’s all in your state of mind,” he would say and often reminded his grandchildren that their education was the most important thing.
Nick was a steady influence, a quiet, tolerant, kind gentleman who never swore or raised his voice. He did not flaunt his success and accomplishments, and he was discrete about his tremendous generosity, to his family, his church and his community. What he could not hide however, was his intelligence — it showed in the way he lived his life. He left a profound mark on his community, and an even greater, lasting impression on his many friends and family.
He is survived by daughters, Bette (Steve) Hartley of Madison, WI, and Leslie (Jon) Richey of Minneapolis, MN; daughter-in-law, Sally Sigan of Lake Zurich, IL; beloved grandchildren, Michael Hartley (Aimee Mapes), Halya (Trent) Dolly, Kaili Richey (Jim Pichotta), Sigan Hartley (Jon Pauli), Jack (Stephanie) Sigan, Stevie Zvereva (Stas Zverev) and Gwen Sigan; and his beloved great-grandchildren, Mason, Evan, Kaleb, Maya, Amelia, Fritz, Ailish, Beylen, Eila Mae, Kieren, Zoya, Nikolai Jack, and Alana.
In addition to his parents, Nick was preceded in death by his wife, Erna; his son, Jack Alan; and siblings, Anita, Nicholas Jr., Lillian, Howard, and Betty.
Visitation will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., Saturday, June 30, 2018 at the Anderson Funeral Home in Escanaba. Funeral services celebrating the life of Jack “Nick” Sigan will follow at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, in the Anderson Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Diane Srutowski officiating. A luncheon will be served afterward in the Anderson Funeral Home fellowship area. Burial with Military Honors by the Rapid River American Legion Post #301 will take place at 2:30 p.m., Saturday, in Lakewood Cemetery in Stonington. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials please be directed to Bay College or Trinity Lutheran Church.
2001 North Lincoln Road, Escanaba MI 49829
Trinity Lutheran Church
5207 County 513 T Rd., Rapid River MI 49878