Eleanor M. Nelson


Eleanor M. Nelson, age 103, of Willmar, died peacefully on Monday, June 1, 2020, at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar with her family by her side.

Her memorial service will be 11 a.m. Saturday, June 6, at Bethel Lutheran Church in Willmar. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church. Interment will be in the church cemetery. Arrangements are with Harvey Anderson Funeral Home in Willmar,

Eleanor May (Skelly) Nelson was born December 1, 1916, in LeSueur, Minnesota, the daughter of Andrew and May (Ollman) Skelly. At the young age of 16, she moved to St. Paul, Minnesota to live with her sister. There she worked at Scott’s home goods store on Selby and Snelling Avenue.

Eleanor was united in marriage to Leland Woodrow Nelson on November 30, 1939 at Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Paul. They met while they were both working at Scott’s store and celebrated 75 years of marriage. They moved to Willmar, Minnesota in 1941.

Eleanor lived a full and active life all of her 103 years. She enjoyed painting, crafting, sewing, decorating, baking, hiking, and traveling with Leland to every state. She was a hard-working business woman, doing all the bookkeeping for their various businesses. Eleanor was an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary where she was president three times and loved decorating for their banquets and other events. She loved this country and believed in the importance of honoring, respecting, and giving allegiance to the American Flag. She also was an active member of Bethel Lutheran Church and the Willmar Senior Citizens Center.

She is survived by two daughters: Judy Bahn of Minneapolis and Lynne (and Glenn) Kalenberg of Litchfield; a daughter-in-law: Karen Nelson of Willmar; eight grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. Also surviving are two brothers: Floyd (and Delpha) Skelly and Bud (and Barb) Skelly; a sister: Corinne Zitzer; and several nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband: Leland in 2014; two sons: David Nelson in 1997 and Gary Nelson in 2019; a daughter: Lelane Scheltens in 2009; two sons-in-law: Lary Scheltens and Walden Bahn; five brothers; and one sister.

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