Peacefully on November 6th 2012, Natalie Nelson, 83, of Mankato, at Hillcrest Care Home after a brief but happy residency there, following a COPD crisis in July.
Born on February 23, 1929 in Anoka, MN, to Clarence and Lois Whinery, Natalie grew up in the time of the Great Depression, coloring the rest of her life. After her father's untimely death in 1935 the family carried on, with her mother, brother and sister all taking small jobs to get by. By age 15 she was working as an aide in the Anoka State Hospital, and later did secretarial work as well. She graduated from Anoka High School in 1947, with a lifelong interest in history, literature and poetry.
In 1949 she married electrical engineer Forrest Nelson, and they moved to Mankato where he began a long career at Kato Engineering. Her own career in caring continued, raising five children and caring for Forrest's elderly mother and later, one grandchild.
She was active in the Centenary Methodist Church and later at Belgrade Avenue United Methodist Church, but her wide ranging interests included writing prose and poetry, doing home renovation and crafts, and maintaining a welcoming country home for her grown children whenever they were lucky enough to visit. Her omnivorous reading informed a keen intellect, and she nurtured the same in her children and grandchildren. She made a superb potato salad, too.
She nursed Forrest through a brief final illness, and was widowed in 1983. In recent years her son Fred has provided more and more care, allowing her to live independently in her home until July 2012.
She was preceded in death by her sisters Vera and Dorothy, her brother Ellsworth, her beloved aunt and "second mother," Beth, her husband Forrest, and her close friend Golda Rutjes.
Surviving her are daughters Holly and Virginia, sons Forrest, Frederick and James, and grandchildren Cristi Beth Nelson, Todd Harris, Ted Nelson, Terry Nelson, Andra Gondreau Eastling, Kyle Meek-Nelson, her nephew "Jigger" Nelson, and her close friend Shirley Lieske.
At Natalie's request, cremation will be followed by a private memorial. Donations to the American Lung Association would be appropriate.