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Mary Rose Nelson, of Vasa, died Tuesday, November 10 after a long illness.
Mary was born July 2, 1941 in Nelsonville, WI to Orin and Ruth (Hoffman) Waller. She graduated from Iola High School in 1959, and then earned a certificate as a Licensed Practical Nurse from Madison Vocational School. She joked that LPN really stood for “low-paid nurse,” but she never complained.
After beginning her career, she moved to Minneapolis to live with her cousin Audrey Waller. She worked at the University of Minnesota Masonic hospital. One memorable Christmas around that time Mary sewed matching loud-print pajamas for her whole extended family, including her niece’s dolly. She met Rodney Nelson, and they married on September 25, 1971 in Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. She lived the rest of her life in Minnesota, but returned every year to Wisconsin for the Waller family reunion that became a cherished annual tradition.
An avid gardener for many years of her life, Mary often said she wasn’t terribly fond of her floral middle name, but that it was probably better than being named “Gloxinia.” She was fond of all kinds of crafts, making purses, decorations, and patching her children’s torn-up clothes. She was no doubt pleased to have survived one last Vikings-Packers game, won by the right team, no less. Always looking for a way to make people laugh, Mary once surprised and mostly delighted her coffee party guests by secretly placing confetti on the top of a ceiling fan, and waiting for someone to unwittingly flip the switch.
As a mom and grandma, Mary was the best – patient, firm and understanding. She indulged her children’s endless string of hobbies and interests, even when she didn’t necessarily share them. She was an active member of Vasa Lutheran Church, where she started writing jokes and puzzles to lighten up the church newsletter. Mary survived a serious car accident in 2002 and struggled to regain her former health and quality of life, but surprised all by her resilience. The accident forced her retirement from Cannon Falls Hospital, which meant the loss of dozens of beloved co-workers she was proud to call friends.
Memorials may be designated to Vasa Lutheran Church.
She is survived by her devoted husband of 49 years, Rodney, two children Gretchen (Jim) Jerskey of Andover, MN and Derek (Kelly) Nelson of Crawfordsville, IN; grandchildren Katy and Justin Jerskey of Andover and Madeleine Nelson of Crawfordsville; brother Gary of Shakopee, MN; and a wide family of cherished nieces, nephews and beloved cousins.
Memorial services will be held on Wednesday, Nov 18 at 11:00 am at Vasa Lutheran Church, 15235 Norelius Rd, Welch, MN 55089. Masks and social distancing will be required. Interment will follow the service in the Vasa Lutheran Cemetery. Lundberg Funeral Home is assisting the family. The service will be video recorded and may a link will be available here.