Reverend John F. Nelson

Saturday, February 9, 2019
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Rev. John F. Nelson of St. Paul, Minnesota died Jan. 31, 2019. He was born Aug. 18, 1929. He is missed by his loving wife of 67 years, Nancy (Helland) Nelson, and his grateful children and grandchildren: Kristen Nelson (Tom Will) of St. Paul, Minnesota (Kaila and Thorbjorn); Kathryn Nelson (H.T. Fish) of St. Paul; Minnesota (Taryn and Schyler); Gretchen Nelson (John Wolfe Jr.) of Anchorage, Alaska (Rebecca and Avery); Julie B. Comes (Dean) of Lewistown (Madison, Mikayla, and Collin); and Rev. John D.F. Nelson (Stephanie) of Bloomington, Minnesota (Sarah and Tyler).

He was the son of Newell “Newt” and Signe (Roe) Nelson; the brother of Newell Jr. (Bud) and Stanley. A graduate of St. Olaf College, Luther Seminary, and Princeton Seminary, John served parishes in Salem, Spencer, and Brookings, South Dakota, Lewistown, and, for 34 years, at Calvary Lutheran Church, Allendale, New Jersey.

From the Dakotas to the East Coast districts, and on the national Lutheran Church level, John worked countless terms on committees and boards to engage youth in ministry and further church missions serving on regional and national All Lutheran Youth Gathering teams, local and global church outreach boards, Camp Koinonia, Eger Nursing Home and local and ecumenical governing boards, always looking for new ways to share the gospel and engage people in faith. His unassuming personality and friendly banter won people over and created opportunities for innovation and collaboration. He had a pastor’s heart, a greeting that started with “what’s your name” and continued minutes--and often decades--later with shared laughter and compassionate reflection.

Funeral services will be held at Bethlehem Lutheran, 4100 Lyndale So., Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Saturday, Feb. 16, at 11 a.m. Visitation will be at 10 a.m. Memorials in lieu of flowers are appreciated to Luther Seminary, St. Olaf College, or a spiritual place that gives you joy. Gill Brothers Funeral Home is assisting the family,



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