Alton “Al” Nelson, age 93, of Windom, formerly of Cokato and Maple Lake, died Friday, Jan. 6, 2012, at his home.
He was born April 10, 1918, in Stockholm, SD, to the late Alfred and Florence (Nelsen) Nelson. Al was confirmed at the Evangelical Free Church in Brock, MN; and baptized at the First Lutheran Church in St. James, MN.
Al received his education in Cokato, graduating with the class of 1935. He continued his education at Dunwoody Institute.
Al was drafted into the US Army April 3, 1941, in Minneapolis, prior to World War II. After completing officer candidate school, he trained troops for combat as a first lieutenant. While deployed in the Philippines and Japan, he monitored food and ammunition stocks of captured Japanese stores.
After World War II, Al remained in the Army Reserve. He later served active duty in the Korean War, and attained the rank of captain in charge of the Heavy Infantry Motor Pool, 2nd Division, deployed at the 38th Parallel. After the Korean War, he was honorably discharged and returned home after receiving numerous medals and citations.
Al was united in marriage to Ruth Virginia Gustafson April 16, 1944, in Savannah, GA. This marriage was blessed with three children, Richard, Jo Ann, and Ralph.
During his civilian life, Al managed and owned automotive parts businesses, managing stores in Minneapolis, Buffalo, and Mankato. In 1961, he became owner of the NAPA store in St. James, where he ran a successful business.
In 1978, Al and Ruth sold the NAPA store and moved to Maple Lake, where they constructed a home on Indian Lake, where Al assisted in the formation of the “lake association”.
Al took an active role in “citizen lake monitoring” for 20 years. As a result of his efforts, he received a citation from Governor Pawlenty.
He served on the finance committee, ushered, and helped construct the Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Maple Lake. His active role in the Bethel Bible Study led to a later desire to visit Israel.
Ruth passed away Sept. 7, 1989. After her death, Al continued to live in Maple Lake.
He was united in marriage to Lucille Pierson Lewis June 22, 1995, at the American Lutheran Church in Windom. In 2008, Al sold his home in Maple Lake to live in Windom, where he remained until his death.
Al was a member of the American Lutheran Church in Windom. He also was a member of the Annandale Pioneer Park, the Wright County Historical Society, Maple Lake VFW, St. James American Legion, St, James Rotary Club, and served on the St. James zoning and planning commission.
Al is survived by his wife, Lucille Nelson of Windom; three children, Richard (Janet) Nelson of Columbus, OH; Jo Ann (Dennis) Barsten of Indianapolis, IN; and Ralph (Nancy) Nelson of Redmond, WA; two stepchildren, Steven (Beth) Lewis of La Crosse, WI, and Jane Faber of Windom; 10 grandchildren; two step-grandchildren; one step-great-grandchild; one brother, Harlan (Myrtle) Nelson of Hutchinson; as well as nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends.
In addition to his first wife, Al was preceded in death by his parents; and three sisters, Bernice, Harriet, and Lucille.
Memorial services took place Monday, Jan. 9 at the American Lutheran Church in Windom with the Revs. Tim Wrenn and Jay Grave officiating. There was visitation for one hour before the service at the church. Full military honors followed the service, with burial to be at Ft. Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis.
Arrangements were by the LaCanne Family Funeral Service in Windom. Condolences can be sent online to www.lacannefuneralhome.com.