Bertha ‘Buddy’ Nelson, 80

Bertha “Buddy” Nelson, age 80, of Cokato, passed away Monday, June 9, 2014, at the Cokato Manor, with loved ones by her side.

There will be a memorial service Tuesday, June 17 at 11 a.m. at Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cokato. Interment will be at the Cokato Finnish Cemetery.

Visitation is Monday, June 16 from 4 to 8 p.m. at Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home of Cokato, with a prayer service at 7:30 p.m., and continues Tuesday one hour prior to the service at the church.

Arrangements are being handled by Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home in Cokato.

Bertha Ailie Saari was born June 26, 1933, to Elizabeth and William Saari of rural Annandale, the youngest of eight children. She was baptized and confirmed at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in French Lake.

She graduated from Annandale High School in 1951.

Bertha married the love of her life, Donald Nelson July 12, 1952.

Don served in the US Army, stationed in Germany from 1954 to 1956. During this time they travelled extensively throughout Europe. Once Don was released from duty, they returned to their farm north of Cokato and continued to work the land for many years to come.

Their baby girl was born May 10, 1957, and died May 10, 1957. Their son, Scott Donald, was born Jan. 2, 1959. Tragically, Scott was lost in a farming accident July 2, 1960.

Buddy always kept herself busy being a farm wife, helping Don on the farm and working full time. She worked at 3M, Gilmer Monuments, Buffalo Courthouse, and, lastly, at Cokato School District/Dassel-Cokato School District for 27 years, retiring in 1994.

Buddy was a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Cokato.

She was a faithful, loving wife to Don for over 61 years. They enjoyed extensive traveling (China, Alaska, Mexico, Hawaii, Canada, most of the 50 states, Finland and Europe).

Buddy and Don also enjoyed their daily ritual of cribbage games, never getting the elusive 29 game after 60-plus years of trying. In addition, Buddy was an avid golfer and swimmer.

In 1995, Don and Buddy bought their winter home in Apache Junction, AZ. There, Buddy could be found making teddy bears, attending the computer club, swimming, walking, or golfing. Unfortunately, she could not travel the past few years due to health reasons.

In 2002, Don retired from farming and they built their retirement home on a portion of the land they had farmed for over 50 years.

In addition to her daughter and son, Buddy was preceded in death by her parents, Elizabeth and William Saari; sisters Ethel (Bernard) Solberg, Dorothy (Henry) Lehtola, and Ferne (Harold) Hansen; and brothers Harry and Willard (Ruth).

She is survived by her loving and devoted husband, Donnie; sisters Kathryn Gomez and Ruthe Saunders; 18 Saari nieces/nephews and their spouses; sisters-in-law Mildred Nelson and Shirley Tyni; 17 Nelson nieces/nephews and spouses; and numerous great and great-great nieces and nephews.

Buddy was dearly loved.

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