Cover photo for Dean Ludwig Nelson's Obituary
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1929 Dean 2018

Dean Ludwig Nelson

January 28, 1929 — June 13, 2018

Dean L. Nelson age 89 of Detroit Lakes, MN died June 13, 2018 at his residence, surrounded by his loving family and under the care of Hospice of the Red River Valley. Dean Ludwig Nelson was born January 28, 1929 in Rochert, MN to Ernest and Jennie (Larson) Nelson. As a young man Dean worked on several farms in the area. In 1948 he was united in marriage to Shirley King in Detroit Lakes, MN. In 1951 they moved into Detroit Lakes. Dean worked for Bergen's Greenhouse and Nursery until 1963 but continued to work there for several years at their tree farm, where he taught his children how to drive a tractor. In 1963 he went to work for the Minnesota Highway Department in the maintenance department where he worked mowing, plowing snow (which interrupted many Holiday dinners), asphalt mixing plants, and was also an intermittent heavy equipment operator. He retired in 1991 in a top position in his department, but work didn't end at retirement! Dean was very active in his church throughout his life. He taught Sunday School for 35 years, drove the church bus, sang in the choir, was a church board member, the general fund treasure, a leader of the Royal Rangers Church Boys Club, taking boys camping, fishing, and teaching them through activities and by example. After he retired he volunteered at his church shoveling sidewalks, (couldn't get away from the snow), set up and took down tables and chairs weekly for various church activities. He was also actively involved in the development of the senior community program at Community Alliance Church, and proposed the name that it is known as today, High Mileage.He enjoyed camping, fishing, hunting, restoring, and collecting old tractors. A passion he has handed down the generations. He was an active member of the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Association, attending the annual Rollag Reunion for over 55 years. He with his wife would camp at and be volunteer workers for the event. Dean belonged to the  Lake Agassiz Two Cylinder Club where he enjoyed being able to display and talk about his restored tractors at various events. He was also on the board of directors for the Holmesville Cemetery serving as sexton for over 37 years. He assisted his daughter, Joyce, with preparing a book of historical records of the families at Holmesville, with stories, pictures, and developing the family trees. In 2005 the state bought their home in the city, and Dean moved to the country where he enjoyed every day being back on the "farm".   He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Shirley (King) two daughters, Judy (Mike) Graff, of W. Fargo, ND; and Jeanne (Malcolm) Nason, of North Pole, AK; one son, Rick (Nancy) Nelson, of Detroit Lakes, MN; nine grandchildren, Jason, Tracey, Dan, Beth, Christy, Heather, Mike, Michelle, and Tim; twenty four great grandchildren; two great great grandchildren; two brothers, Dennis (Mary Alice) Nelson, of MO; and Paul Nelson, of Detroit Lakes, MN; one sister, Ethel Andrus, of Anchorage, AK; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by one daughter, Joyce Anderson; one son, Gary Nelson; one sister, Irene Doten; and his parents. Funeral Services will be on Wednesday June 20, 2017; 11:00 a.m. at Community Alliance Church in Detroit Lakes, MN. Visitation will be on Tuesday from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. at the West-Kjos Funeral Home in Detroit Lakes, MN, with a prayer service at 6:30 p.m. Interment will be in the Holmesville Cemetery, rural Detroit Lakes, MN.
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