Police were still looking in mid-September for the driver involved in a hit-and-run accident that left a 64-year-old St. Louis Park bicyclist dead near Excelsior Boulevard and West 32nd Street.
Jim Nisser was struck and killed around 4:30 a.m. Sept. 11, as he rode his bicycle to the Minikahda Club, 3205 Excelsior Blvd., where he worked as a cook.
Police found Nisser — wearing his helmet — after responding to a report of a body in the street.
No one called 911 to report the accident, but police determined that a tan vehicle hit Nisser. The vehicle should have significant front-end damage, police said.
Nisser, who had cerebral palsy, had worked at the Minikahda golf club since 1962 and regularly commuted on his bike, since he had no drivers’ license. He was also an active member and volunteer at Wooddale Lutheran Church in St. Louis Park, according to a tribute to Nisser written by Pastor Tim Rauk on the church’s website.
“We will miss his gentle spirit, his willingness to set up, clean up, usher, make coffee, report on the Wooddale softball team, but most importantly, greet all people, members and visitors alike, with his genuinely kind friendship,” Rauk wrote.
Karen Tharp, an administrative assistant at the church, said Nisser had gone to Wooddale since 1951. He was kind to everyone and always ready to usher, greet or make pancakes for breakfast.
“He had a smile that stretched for miles,” she said.
Nisser was also a diehard Minnesota Twins fan who regularly traveled to Florida for spring training. He lived alone, but the circle of lives he touched was huge, Tharp said. During Pastor Rauk’s sermon days after Nisser was killed, slips of paper were passed out to the congregation so anyone with a memory of Nisser could write it down.
Tharp said Rauk was expecting to get maybe 20 slips back. More than 130 people ended up submitting memories.
“There’s not a corner of the life of this church that hadn’t been touched by Jim,” Tharp said.
Sgt. William Palmer of the Minneapolis Police Department said a chip of the tan paint from the vehicle that struck Nisser was being analyzed, but no suspects were known. Police were seeking the public’s help in finding the driver. Anyone with any information can call the Minneapolis Police Department’s tip line at 612-692-8477.
“We are concerned about this incident and we want a resolution to this case,” Palmer said. “This is not something we’re giving up on.”