Marlene Beverly Nelson Thompson, our Mom, died on July 25, 2020.
Our hearts are broken. But we know she’s having a grand time, walking with no trouble, gesturing with her left hand as she talks.
She’s having coffee with the people she loves and has missed so much: her Mom Agnes, brothers Dick and Dave, sister-in-law Kay, Aunt Jo and Uncle Ed, and in-laws Sam and Tina. (We are very jealous of that awesome coffee klatsch.)
Our Mom was whip-smart, caring, funny, and had no patience for those who tried to keep others down. She rolled with things in a mystifying way. Even when she found out she had a brain tumor. Her response was, “Ok. We’ll deal with this.”
Mom was born July 19, 1939, in Alexandria. She was welcomed by her parents, Agnes and Norris, and her brothers Dick, Dave, and Al.
After growing up in Alex, she moved to Minneapolis. She went to the Lutheran Bible Institute and the Minneapolis College of Business. She then went to work as a church secretary at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church.
That she found this particular job was one of those God things. She loved working with Pastor Parbst. And that’s where she met our Dad.
Mom and Dad met at church choir in early 1962. On their first date, they went out for pie. They got married on Oct. 13, 1962.
She was a stay-at-home Mom until we were in school full time. After a year – in which she only had the dog talk to all day – she was bored out of her mind.
Mom went back to work at a job she absolutely loved -- as a paraprofessional in the guidance office at Anoka Senior High School. It allowed her to be home when we got off the bus every day. During the summer, she was home with us and her gardens.
Throughout our growing up years, she and our Dad took us on trips across the country. She wanted us to experience things she didn’t while she grew up. (Although briefly losing Steve at the San Diego Zoo was not one of those things.)
For years our home was Thanksgiving HQ for the Nelson aunts, uncles, and cousins. It was the loudest, shortest, and most fun day of the year. There weren’t many things that ruffled her, but Thanksgiving morning, you didn’t joke around with Mom. She was serious and single-minded until dinner was ready.
Mom was interested in just about everything. Throughout the years, she and Dad traveled to Europe, the Middle East, and throughout the U.S., often with her brother Dave and sister-in-law Ruth.
After she and our Dad retired, they made their dream move to Lake Ida. They joined Calvary Lutheran and jumped in with both feet.
Mom was passionate about mission quilting. Passionate with a capital “P.” If you asked her why she’d say, “I can’t stand to think of anyone being cold.”
Marlene is survived by her husband Tom, her children Maria, Mike and Steve and daughters-in-law, Beth and Lana. Her grandchildren Tori, Cale, Katy, Kessa, and Cohen, will forever miss their grandma and friend who taught them how to bake and made the best buttermilk pancakes around (on the lefse griddle). She is also survived by her dear brother Al, sisters-in-law Bev and Ruth, cousin Gene and his wife Missy, and many nieces and nephews.
A special thank you to Josie and the other nurses and staff in enhanced assisted living (Grand Arbor). And to Ashley, Max, and Shannon. You were all so sweet and kind and took such good care of her. You are angels.
And to Deb, Tracy, Amy, and everyone from hospice who kept her comfortable and cared for. We can never express how grateful we are. She was blessed by your care.
Thanks too to her quilting, Bible study, and book club ladies. Your friendship, cards, and flowers meant so much to her and to us.
We love you, Mom, and miss you like crazy.
Ria, Mike & Steve
P.S. If you are so moved, Mom would be touched by a memorial to Lutheran World Relief.
A graveside service for immediate family was on July 31 at Kinkead Cemetery. Pastor Hans Dahl officiated. (She would have liked that.)
Arrangements are with the Anderson Funeral Home and Crematory of Alexandria.