Richard A. Nelson, age 87, passed away peacefully on Sunday, January 16, 2022, at Grand Strand Medical Center in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.A Visitation will be held at 10:00 am followed by a funeral service at 11:00 am on Saturday, July 2, 2022, at Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Church in Spicer, Minnesota. Lunch will follow the Funeral Mass. Johnson Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements. In lieu of flowers, the family would prefer donations to be directed to The Link Food Pantry and to Hope Pregnancy Center both in Willmar, Minnesota. The service will be live-streamed at https://www.ourlivingwater.org/dicknelson.html
Richard Allan Nelson was born on September 20, 1934, in Lake Mills, Iowa to Nels J. Nelson and Ida J. Holland, who were both 100% Norwegian. Growing up, Richard played the trumpet and competed in football, basketball, and track.
Richard graduated from Lake Mills High School and then played football at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. He attended the University of Minnesota Dental School and honorably served in both the US Army and US Air Force as a dentist. In 1965, he married Imelda “Mel” T. Schirmers. He was drafted in 1966 and was deployed to Wildwood Air Force Station in Kenai, Alaska during the Vietnam War. His final Air Force assignment brought him to Duluth, Minnesota. Major Richard A. Nelson was honorably discharged from the US Air Force in 1976.
Richard and Mel moved to Spicer, Minnesota in 1974 where they raised their three children, Sena, Erik & Lindsey. Dr. Nelson practiced dentistry in Willmar. Following his retirement in 1999, he volunteered at a clinic in Saint Paul where he provided dental care to the homeless and to the underserved. The Minnesota Dental Association recognized him with a certificate for 50 years of outstanding service.
Nels was a member of Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Church where he volunteered as an usher and as a “Hall Angel”. For years, he was an active member of the National Ski Patrol and the Willmar Lion’s Club. Recently, he became a member of the American Legion in Spicer.
Anyone who knew Nels, knew he was a man of deep faith who loved his family. His dental practice hours were specifically scheduled from 7:00 am to 1:00 pm in order to be early for every one of his children’s sporting events! In his spare time, Nels loved to read the newspaper, ride his bike, play tennis, fish, downhill ski, attend men’s Bible study, and listen to The Eagles & The Beach Boys. Over the years, he taught countless kids how to waterski on the family’s lake. He adored his grandchildren and attended their activities always wearing their school colors and apparel. In 2020, Nels was so proud to become a great-grandfather!
Dr. Richard Nelson is survived by Mel, his wife of 57 years; a daughter, Sena Vick Norsman, her husband, Brian, of Stillwater, Minnesota; two sons, Erik Nelson, his wife, Amy, of Omaha, Nebraska, and Dr. Lindsey Nelson and Aileen McGoldrick, of Flat Rock, North Carolina, sister-in-law, Sharon Nelson, of Hampton, Iowa, brother-in-law, Denis Schirmers, of Sauk Centre, Minnesota, sister-in-law, Marcia Kurilla, of Maple Grove, Minnesota, grandchildren; Dr. Nelson Vick, Sophie Vick, Erik Vick, George Norsman, Lily Nelson, Mac Nelson, Will Nelson, Tessa Nelson, Rowan Nelson, great-grandchild; Millie Vick and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother, Neal Nelson, brother, David Nelson, sister, Dorothy Kuriger, son-in-law, Thomas Vick, and granddaughter, Brianna Nelson.