Shannon (Nilles) Larson


Shannon Lee Nilles was born October 20, 1959, to Clarence Jr. and Norrine (Bender) Nilles.  She passed from this life May 24, 2023. A Memorial Service will be held at 10:00 AM on Tuesday, May 30, 2023, at Bismarck Funeral Home. A burial will take place at the North Dakota Veteran’s Cemetery at 1:00 PM.

She was the oldest of five siblings including Mitchell (Kathy), Judith (Todd), James, and Michael (Kathy).

Shannon spent many of her early years in Almont, ND, with her grandparents, Clarence Sr. and Regina Nilles, whom she loved dearly.  She was known to be the ‘apple of Grandma Gina’s eye’!

Shannon was a member of the first graduating class of Century High School in 1978.  To be honest, a record number of tardies almost caused the diploma to slip through her fingers as that beautiful blue eye shadow of the 70’s had to be applied with an expert hand and took precious time!

Shortly after high school, she married Dennis Ell and they had three boys, Trevor, Tanner and Tyler.

Shannon was never one to shy away from hard work and took on a lot of different jobs in her life, many having to do with cleaning, something she took great pride in and truly made her happy.  Even though she may have griped about it, it gave her a sense of accomplishment, whether it was her home or a big office building. To take you back in time, a couple of her early jobs were at Village Inn Pancake House and Kings Food Host, later known as The Woodhouse, where Mitch was her chauffeur, to and from work.  She also worked at MedCenter Eye Clinic, which later became Eye Center of the Dakotas, for years.

Shannon married Dr. James Larson in 2003 and they were together for 17 years, until his death in 2019.  Over those years, Jim helped Shannon raise her youngest son, Parker, as his own.  Jim and Shannon shared a love of traveling, shopping and good wine.  They visited many countries including Germany, Mexico, Italy, France, Austria, many Caribbean Islands, NYC, Northwest United States and Jim’s family lake cabin in Northern MN.

Shortly after Jim’s death in August of 2019, Shannon unfortunately was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma.   She fought the disease for three and a half years just like she lived her life; with a positive attitude, humor, grace and the courage to face whatever obstacles came her way.  But the disease became bigger than even she could handle. During one of the healthy times in her battle, she met Jim Elmquist and developed a very special relationship with him.  Of course, he couldn’t imagine what was ahead for their lives but he was by her side until the very end.

Jim, you were an integral part of her care and happiness through her hardest moments.  The family is so grateful for all you have done.  The love you showed her was obvious.  Thank you.

Also, a special thanks to the oncology staff at Sanford, Bismarck and Fargo, Roger Maris, Fargo, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN and a very special gratitude to Dr. Seth Maliske with whom Shannon had a very close bond.

It goes without saying that her best friend Lolly was her rock for many years preceding her illness and throughout the many hard days and nights Shannon endured.  Many thanks to you and your cot, your stories and laughter!

Preceding her in death were her grandparents Clarence Sr. and Regina (Timpe) Nilles, Clarence and Alma (Klinger) Gittel, her parents Clarence Nilles Jr. and Norrine Vogel, and her loving husband Jim Larson.

Shannon is survived by her children, Trevor (Candace) Ell, and their children Libby and Zoey, Tanner (Melissa) Ell, and their children Brenley and Oakley, Tyler (Kalene) Ell, and their children, Bentley and Bjerklie, and Parker and Liza Endersbe. She is also survived by her three stepdaughters, Kristin (Carsten) Gruber and their children Annika, Kira and Liam; Dr. Karin (Dr. Darren) Larson-Pollock and their children Madison and Andrew; and Kathrin Youngberg and her children Nik and Alek.

Also surviving her are her brothers and sister (listed above), her Uncle Darrel and Aunt Marian Nilles and their children, and her beloved dog Buddy.

Anyone who knew Shannon, knew she was as quirky and goofy as she was generous and big of heart.  She was as beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside; a ‘blonde bombshell’!!  Although she didn’t quite make it to see her youngest, Parker, marry his love Liza this Memorial Day weekend, we know she is watching over all and smiling.

In lieu of flowers please send memorials to The Roger Maris Cancer Center or North Dakota Veteran’s Cemetery at, 1825 46th Street in Mandan.

A livestream of the service will be on the funeral home website under Shannon’s obituary tab.

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Our condolences to Shannon’s family. She was a courageous and caring person as well as a great neighbor. Please let us know of any assistance you may need during this difficult time.
Stanley & Joy Benson

My thoughts and prayers are with you all. Shannon’s personality lit up a room with her smile .Rest in Peac till we meet again

Shannon, you fought so hard, with the utmost courage and humor. I looked forward to your every visit to the Infusion Center so I could laugh with you and share so many stories. You truly lit up my life and will always be in my memories and my heart. I am so full of sadness over your passing but also filled with such joy that you were part of my journey. My sincere condolences to Jim and your family. May God bless you all and keep you in his loving arms through this most difficult time. Kandy Guthrie

We were so very sorry to hear of Shannon’s passing. The past few years have been tough for her, but she endured them with humor and such inner strength. She gave my brother Jim great happiness with her zest for life and her devotion to him. We feel blessed to have known her and are grateful for all the many trips and adventures we enjoyed with her and Jim. We will miss her very much and keep her and her family in our thoughts and prayers. Rick and Trina Larson.

Trevor, Tyler, Tanner, Parker, and families,

My condolences to all of you on the loss of your mom and loved one, Shannon.

Keep your memories alive by talking about her, rembering fun times together and the stories that go with them. I know she loved her boys, their families, and her family dearly.

My deepest sympathies to all of you at this difficult time. God Bless.

Sincerely, Susan Lackman

Shannon was such a joy to visit with and care for, her bright smile and quick wit were the highlight of my day. I’m truly sorry for your loss, she told me often in our short time together how much she loved all of you.
God Bless, Holly RN

My heart is breaking hear of Shannon’s passing. She will always have a special place in my heart. She had a special bond with my daughter, Abby, who has CP and is non-verbal. She helped her pick out glasses since she was 4 years old. And Abby always looked good in the ones Shannon picked. Shannon fought a hard fight. She will never be forgotten.
In God’s Peace,
Kirsten McIntyre

I have fond memories of my cousin Shannon and her brothers. I remember (around 1966 or so) her Shetland Pony Bunny. She loved that pony. She truly was the apple of Gina’s eye. Krista & I were last out in North Dakota in 2007. I’m glad Shannon got to travel & do so many things over the years. Our prayers are with the rest of the family.

I am so sorry to hear of Shannon’s passing. I’ve known Shannon since she worked at Medcenter One in the optical department. Shannon always helped me pick out my glasses and even helped my daughter choose hers. Her kindness, her smile, her laugh, and were contagious. My thoughts and prayers are with Shannon’s family and friends.