Obituary for Allan Nelson

Allan Nelson, 90, of Northfield passed away, surrounded by his family, on January 20, 2020 at the Evergreen Lodge at the Northfield Retirement Community after a prolonged struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. Allan Orvin Peter Nelson was born on October 12, 1929 on the family farm in Rosehill Township, rural Westbrook, Minnesota to Otto and Oline (Kaste) Nelson. He graduated from Westbrook High School in 1947 and, after completing a degree at the University of Minnesota School of Agriculture, started farming with his father and uncles. In the fall of 1952 he was drafted into the US Army and served in […]

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Allan Nelson, 90, of Northfield passed away, surrounded by his family, on January 20, 2020 at the Evergreen Lodge at the Northfield Retirement Community after a prolonged struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Allan Orvin Peter Nelson was born on October 12, 1929 on the family farm in Rosehill Township, rural Westbrook, Minnesota to Otto and Oline (Kaste) Nelson. He graduated from Westbrook High School in 1947 and, after completing a degree at the University of Minnesota School of Agriculture, started farming with his father and uncles. In the fall of 1952 he was drafted into the US Army and served in Korea as a chaplain’s assistant until he was honorably discharged in 1954. Upon returning from Korea he enrolled at St. Olaf College in Northfield, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in English in 1958. After college, he entered Luther Seminary and earned a Master of Divinity degree in 1961.

He married Imogene Boyum on June 25, 1960 at Arendahl Lutheran Church, rural Peterson, Minnesota. Following his ordination to the ministry on June 25, 1961, they moved to Lake Crystal, Minnesota where he was the pastor of Zion Lutheran Church. In 1969 he returned to the University of Minnesota and earned a Masters degree in American Studies. He served as a Lutheran pastor at Our Savior’s (Kiester, MN), Grace (Luverne, MN), First (Valley Springs, SD) and Palisade (rural Garretson, SD) until his retirement in 1995. He particularly enjoyed rural ministry. Throughout his working years, he volunteered on many community and church-related boards. After retiring to Northfield, he served as a part-time visitation pastor at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Faribault for 14 years.

Allan was a loving and supportive husband, father and grandfather, and a faithful pastor. He loved interacting with people and getting to know them. He enjoyed music, especially singing and playing his clarinet and accordion, travel, reading, downhill skiing and time with his family. He was proud of his Norwegian and Danish heritage. His early years on the farm instilled in him a sense of self-reliance, an interest in tractors, cars and mechanics, and the ability to fix almost anything. As a young adult he was active in 4-H and Luther League. In retirement he and Imogene enjoyed international travel and time at the farm, planting a large garden and sharing the produce with the food shelf, friends and neighbors.

He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Imogene (Boyum) Nelson of Northfield; daughters Kirsten (Jeffrey) Johnson of Sudbury, Massachusetts, Berit (Jeffrey Schmidt) of St. Paul, Minnesota and Sigrid (Daniel Schonebaum) of Faribault, Minnesota; grandchildren Matthew Johnson of St. Paul, Nathaniel Johnson of Boston, Otto and Anna Schmidt of St. Paul, and Marta and Henry Schonebaum of Faribault; brother Glenn Nelson (Jane Borelli) of Decorah, IA, brother-in-law Kenley Boyum of Plymouth, MN, and many cousins, nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents Otto and Oline Nelson and brothers-in-law Goodwin and Andrew Boyum.

Allan’s family would like to express their gratitude to the staff of the Evergreen Lodge for their compassionate care during the last year of Allan’s life, and to Roger and Laurie Knudson for their help on the farm.

A Service of Remembrance and Celebration will be held on Friday, February 7, 2020, at 11 am at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 500 3rd St. W, Northfield, MN. Visitation will take place one hour prior to the service and a reception will follow, both at the church. Memorials gifts may be made to St. Olaf College, St. John’s Music Fund or the Evergreen Lodge at the Northfield Retirement Community.

Arrangements are with the Benson & Langehough Funeral Home. www.northfieldfuneral.com

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Funeral

February 7, 2020 - 11:00 AM


Visitation One Hour Before Service
St. John’s Lutheran Church
500 3rd St W Northfield, 55057 Get Directions

6 Comments

  1. Anne Tofteland

    Our sincere sympathy. Pastor Nelson joyfully officiated at our wedding and will be remembered by us for his integrity, kindness, and excellent sense of humor.

    Reply
  2. Gay Gonnerman

    Dear Kirsten, Imogene and family, I’m sorry for Allan’s passing and the empty space it leaves in your lives. Together with you I celebrate the long, meaningful and fulfilling life of your father and husband.
    I’m sorry I cannot attend the visitation or service. I’ll be out of state. Love and blessings to your family as you gather to remember Allan and commend him to his rest and reward.

    Reply
  3. Glenn Nycklemoe

    Dear Imogene and Family,
    I remember Allan as a friend and wonderful Pastor. We started St. Olaf together in 1954 and continued on at Luther Theological Seminary. Our paths crossed from time to time in the Ministry. It was a Privilege to serve with him as his Bishop in the Southeastern Minnesota Synod.
    Know that you and the family are being held close in thought and prayer as you grieve the loss of Allan. May God bless you and bring you comfort. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases…
    Glenn Nycklemoe, Bishop Emeritus, Southeastern Minnesota Synod

    Reply
    • Dave and Louise Anderson

      Imogene and family: Allan has left a legacy of faithfulness for his family and friends. He has given many years of witness and love shared. Allan now joins the music of heaven in that reunion of the saints. Blessed be his memory.

      Reply
  4. Clinton M

    1979 or 1980 VW Rabbit 4-door diesel.
    Allan was happy.

    Reply
  5. Myron and Florence Grams

    Dear Imogene and Family. I am one of the Westbrook boys who ended up as Lutheran pastors, Sheldon, Norris, Allan, Willis and myself Myron Grams or often Mike. Allan’s and my journey have a lot in common. Born in Rosehill township, Westbrook High School, farmed with our fathers, Korean War vets, attended seminary, and I also served rural settings. We did not see each other often, but a few times our roots connected us. As you celebrate Allan’s life and the life of our Lord, may God continue to hold you in His loving care. Myron and Florence Grams, Otsego,MN

    Reply

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