Gerald Nelson, 75Gerald “Ace” Donovan Nelson, 75, died Saturday, March 31, 2012.
Gerald “Ace” Donovan Nelson, 75, died Saturday, March 31, 2012.
Gerald was born on a farm near Lake Taylor in LaGrand Township on January 23, 1937, the son of Gust and Cora (Sanders) Nelson. When he was 1 year old, his family moved to a farm on the west side of Lake Latoka. Gerald was raised on the farm and attended school at District 99, now the LaGrand Town Hall. After sixth grade, the school closed and he completed his schooling in Alexandria, where he graduated from Central High School in 1955.
Gerald loved all kinds of sports. He played high school basketball for two years. During this time he excelled at completing free throws and winning games. That’s how he earned the nickname “Ace” and the name stuck for life. He continued his love of sports throughout his life. For many years he played catcher on an amateur baseball team. He also continued playing basketball for many years in the city league.
Following high school, Ace worked on the family farm. In 1960 he joined the Army National Guard. He was in the Guard for six years and was called to active duty for six months. He served his country at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri and at Fort Dix in New Jersey.
In 1960 Ace married Diane Peart in Alexandria. The couple was blessed with two sons, Jerry and Mark. In 1963 Ace was divorced and brought his boys home to his parents’ farm.
In 1972 Ace was married to Jill Greenwood. At that time he bought his parents’ farm and built a new home on it. The couple was blessed with three children, Nicole, Trisha and Alicia.
In 1992 Ace moved back to the old house on the farm, where he has lived ever since. Ace continued his interest in sports. He watched sports on television and attended many local sporting events. Ace made friends easily and enjoyed visiting with people wherever he met them. He was a gentle, easygoing yet vibrant person; everyone liked visiting with him. For the last 15 years, Ace has been close to Deb Wilson and the couple was recently engaged. His children and his grandchildren were a very important part of his life. Ace was very proud of his kids.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Gordon Nelson; sister, Diane Stoeckel; two half-sisters, Margarite Lindstrom and Dorthea Lindstrom; and two half-brothers, Norman Nelson and Larry Nelson.
Gerald is survived by his fiancée, Deb Wilson of Alexandria; five children, Jerry (Patti Larson) Nelson of Alexandria, Mark (Lori Rehovsky) Nelson of Alexandria, Nicole (Bruce) Forsyth of Hanover, Trisha (Peter Stefanski) Nelson of Plymouth, and Alicia Nelson of Burlington, VT; grandchildren, Bryana Nelson, Bryr Nelson, Kobe Nelson, Taveon Nelson, Jonah Forsyth, Evan Forsyth, Rachel Forsyth and Dylan Nelson; and one brother, Gary (Sandra Folkert) Nelson of Alexandria.
A funeral service was held Tuesday, April 3 at Calvary Lutheran Church in Alexandria. The Rev. Hans Dahl officiated. Kim Byrne, Tom Courneya and Kelly Reller provided music. Interment followed at Evergreen Cemetery in Alexandria. Casket bearers included Rick Nelson, Bryr Nelson, Rollie Kvilhaug, Mitch Wilson, Ryan Wilson and Jameson Wilson. Honorary casket bearers included Bryana Nelson, Kobe Nelson, Taveon Nelson, Jonah Forsyth, Evan Forsyth, Rachel Forsyth and Dylan Nelson. The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 936, American Legion Post 87 and the Minnesota National Guard accorded military honors.
Arrangements are with Anderson Funeral Home in Alexandria; www.andersonfuneral.net.
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