Paul A. Nelson
Paul Alexander Nelson, 84, a winter Texan resident of Uvalde, of Pelican Rapids, Minnesota, died on Oct. 23, 2017, at Ecumen Nursing Home in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota.
Visitation will be held tomorrow from 5 to 7 p.m., with a 6:30 prayer service, at Grace Lutheran Church in Erhard, Minnesota.
A further visitation will be held Saturday at 10 a.m., and a memorial service will be held at 11 a.m., also at Grace Lutheran Church in Erhard, Minnesota. The Rev. Brad Soenksen will officiate. Interment will follow at Central Lutheran Cemetery in Pelican Rapids, Minnesota.
Nelson was born on Feb 8, 1933, to Erna (Krebs) and Francis Nelson at home in a little cabin within the area of what later became Maplewood State Park, near Pelican Rapids, Minnesota.
The static temperature of -28 Fahrenheit that day was typical for that time of year and the family says stories have been passed down about the wood stove glowing red as the family tried to keep warm in the drafty home.
Nelson grew up on what has become a generational farm just outside of Pelican Rapids, Minnesota, in the early 1940s, raising grain and tending a growing dairy herd.
In 1953, he joined the U.S. Air Force, and was stationed in Denver, Colorado, for training as an intelligence operations specialist. While serving he met his future wife, Valeria Flesher, whom he married in 1955, in Colorado.
The couple resided in Alaska, where they welcomed a son, David, and then moved to Mississippi. In Mississippi he trained to repair radar systems, and the couple had their second son, Steven.
Nelson was accepted to and completed officer candidate school in Texas, and was commissioned in 1960.
Following an assignment in Germany, the family moved to Norway where Nelson was assigned to the U.S. Embassy and another child, son Lloyd, was added to the family. Subsequent military assignments included Virginia; Mississippi for a second tour; Vietnam, where Nelson was awarded the U.S. Air Force Commendation Medal for meritorious service at Bien Hoa Air Base; Alaska for a second tour and then a final assignment to Grand Forks, North Dakota.
After military service, Nelson purchased the family farm and with his family returned to a life of farming and dairy, with occasional Walleye fishing.
The family says he enjoyed the wonder of nature and caring for his cattle and sheep, but no place better demonstrated his love for animals than his relationship with his dogs. The dogs got progressively smaller as he grew older; and he could often be found inside a store with his Yorkipoo breed Anna’s little black face peering out from the collar of his parka where he had tucked her in to keep her warm.
Nelson is survived by three sons David Nelson and wife, Pam, of, Marshall, Virginia, Steve Nelson and wife, Vera, and Lloyd Nelson and wife, Donna, all of Pelican Rapids, Minnesota; 10 grandchildren, Erik Nelson, Justin Nelson and wife, Amanda, Samantha Nelson, Casandra Nelson, Zachary Nelson, Francis Nelson, Sarah Beres and husband, Dave, Erin Plemons and husband, Keith, Kraig Nelson and wife, Jamie, and Shelby Nelson; one great-grandson, Matthew Nelson; one sister, Sylvia Gripentrog and husband, Larry, of Fergus Falls, Minnesota; one sister-in-law, Barbara Nichols and husband, Bill, of Carthage, Missouri; two brothers-in-law; Wendell Flesher of Webb City, Missouri and George Flesher and wife, Blanche, of Carthage, Missouri; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 61 years, and his parents.
Glende-Nilson Funeral Homes, www.glendenilson.com