Thomas 'Tom' Nelson

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Funeral services for Mr. Thomas "Tom" Nelson, 81, of Spirit Lake, formerly of Spencer, will be held at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, April 5, 2012, at First Congregational Church in Spencer. Rev. Thomas Van Tassell will officiate the service.

Burial at Riverside Cemetery in Spencer.

Mr. Nelson passed away Friday, March 30, 2012, at Scottsdale Health Care in Scottsdale, Ariz.

R. Thomas "Tom" Nelson was born May 4, 1930, to Ralph Herbert Nelson and Emma Frances (Tucker) Nelson in Spencer. He graduated from Spencer High School in 1948. Following graduation he attended Jewelry, Hand Engraving and Watchmaking School in Peoria, Ill, followed by two years of service in the Army.

Tom was a long-time fixture in the Spencer business district. As the third generation jeweler in the family, he took over operation of his family jewelry store, Nelson Jewelry, in 1955 and continued until his retirement in December 2005. In his early professional years, he was a member of the Spencer Jaycees. He was a member of the First Congregational Church of Spencer.

In addition to his many talents as a jeweler, Tom was a very talented woodworker. He took a good deal of pride in making furniture keepsakes for his home and family. Gardening was another passion and his vegetable garden was a labor of love. Each summer he considered it his mission to harvest the first edible tomato in the family.

Tom was an active outdoorsman, enjoying hunting of all types including waterfowl, upland game as well as large game. He was an avid fisherman and a founding member of the Spencer Sports Camp of Upper Goose Lake, Ontario, Canada. Since 1959 Tom spent time each summer with family and friends fishing on Upper Goose. Son Tom accompanied him regularly and the span of time spent there went from Tom baiting young Tom's hook and removing his fish to young Tom baiting his dad's hook and removing his fish.

Tom is survived by his wife of 43 years, Wanda, of Wahpeton, West Lake Okoboji; son Tom and Kate Nelson, Spencer; daughters: Karen Nelson, Madison, Wis., Caroline Nelson and Richard Stoppelmoor, Sioux Rapids, Amy and Jim Schlueter, Issaquah, Wash., Abbie and SMSgt. Mike Tesch, Ramstein Air Base, Germany; brother, John Nelson, Omaha, Neb.; grandchildren: Nicole (Eric) Stauffer, Melanie Chindlund, Charlie and Sam Stoppelmoor, Hannah and Alex Schlueter, Ana, Maddi and Trey Tesch; great-grandchildren: Kobe and Cooper Chindlund, Eden Stauffer, and Lilly Spears; sister-in-law, Colleen Shaw; brother-in-law, Chuck (Margo) Wood; Brother Greg (Lola) Wood; several nieces, nephews and many friends.

In lieu of flowers, memorials will be directed to Keep Okoboji Blue or Autism Speaks.

Warner Funeral Home of Spencer is in charge of arrangements.