Obituary for Dorothy Pederson Nelson
Dorothy Jean (Pederson) Nelson was born the 3rd of 4 children on December 30, 1927, in Centerville, South Dakota, to Emmett H. and Edith (Tieman) Pederson. She spent her early childhood on the family farm. Depression era farm life had a profound effect on Dorothy. She took note of the hard work that was required to put food on the table and how families and neighbors looked out for each other in times of need. The Pederson family moved to Sioux Falls in the mid 1930’s. Dorothy responded well to the more urban environment. She made many life long friends […]
Dorothy Jean (Pederson) Nelson was born the 3rd of 4 children on December 30, 1927, in Centerville, South Dakota, to Emmett H. and Edith (Tieman) Pederson. She spent her early childhood on the family farm. Depression era farm life had a profound effect on Dorothy. She took note of the hard work that was required to put food on the table and how families and neighbors looked out for each other in times of need. The Pederson family moved to Sioux Falls in the mid 1930’s. Dorothy responded well to the more urban environment. She made many life long friends and excelled in her education endeavors. World War II brought family closeness to the Pedersons’ but much worry and heaviness over the fate of the many family members involved in the war effort. Dorothy graduated from Washington High School in 1945. Before attending college, she worked at the Sioux Falls Air Base charged with transitioning returning soldiers from the war. During her high school and college years Dorothy participated in Speech and Debate. In college Dorothy traveled with the Augustana team to tournaments around the country and became a national champion. Also during college, along with her Sioux Falls friends, she worked at summer resorts in New England and Upper Michigan. Dorothy received her BA in Sociology in 1949 from Augustana College.
On September 3, 1949, Dorothy married fellow Augustana graduate Neal C. Nelson at Zion Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls. They immediately moved to Boulder to attend Graduate School at the University of Colorado. Son Courtland was born there in 1950. Dorothy worked for the University eventually becoming assistant director of women’s housing. Shortly after son Christopher was born in 1958, Dorothy and Neal left Boulder and moved to St. Francis, Minnesota where Neal taught at the high school. Nathan was born in 1961. In 1962 they moved to Forest Lake. In the mid 1960’s Dororthy began to pursue a career in social work. In 1967 she accepted a position with Chisago County in their child protection department. In that same year Neal and Dorothy bought a farm near Harris. The family would spend weekends and summers there for many years. In 1977 they left Forest Lake and moved to Cambridge where and Dorothy began working for Isanti County. Neal passed away in 1984. She retired in 1990. Throughout her years in social work, Dorothy never aspired to be more than a servant to families on the grass roots level. She developed tremendous respect and trust from both the clients she served and the government and judicial systems she worked with. She was a true forerunner to what would become the modern working woman.
During retirement, Dorothy stayed in close contact with her relatives and enjoyed many travel opportunities. She would go for walks or bike rides almost everyday. She was active with book club, the Isanti County Food Shelf, a resource program for the homeless, and helped establish a program to develop parenting skills for incarcerated fathers. She was a longtime member and volunteer at Cambridge Lutheran Church. In 2009 Dorothy was diagnosed with Stage 3 lung cancer. In June 2014, she moved to the Northfield Retirement Community to be near son Nathan. During her four years there she made many new friends. She and her family greatly appreciated the dedicated staff and services at both the Cambridge Regional Hospital and Northfield Hospital and Cancer Center.
Dorothy was thought of as a fun, earthy, organized, determined, full of love, and a always a “good sport!”. Her selfless nature shined through in every aspect of her life. She was a devoted mother, grandmother, extended family member, and trusted friend. Dorothy passed away Saturday evening, July 21, 2018, at the Northfield Retirement Community.
Survivors include her sons, Courtland (Mitzi) of Midway, Utah, Christopher (Sharon) of West Hills, California, Nathan of Northfield; 3 granddaughters, Megan, Rachel, and Emily; her sister, Frances Hall of Madison, Wisconsin; her brother, Robert (Edie) Pederson of Coopeville, Washington; other relatives and friends. She was preceded in death by her husband, parents, and brother Charles Wesley Pederson.
Services will be at 2:00 PM on August 14 at the Chapel of the Northfield Retirement Community. A reception will follow. A second service and internment will be held at Indian Lake Baptist Church and Cemetery, near Worthington at 1:30 PM on August 15.
Memorials are preferred to: Lil Farm Children’s Home in Cambridge and/or The Family Pathways – Cambridge Food Pantry.
Arrangements are with the Benson & Langehough Funeral Home. www.northfieldfuneral.com