Donald Henry Nelson, age 88, of Cokato, passed away Friday, May 26, 2017, at the Dassel Lakeside Nursing Home.
He was born March 26, 1929, in Cokato, to Fred and Anna (Hurula) Nelson, the second youngest of nine children.
Donald grew up on the farm, north of Cokato, and was baptized and confirmed at the Apostolic Lutheran Church.
He graduated from Cokato High School in 1947.
Donald married the love of his life Bertha “Buddy” Saari July 12, 1952.
Don served in the US Army from 1954 to 1956. He was stationed in Germany; Buddy went to Germany to be with Don while he was in the service. During this time, they traveled extensively throughout Europe.
Once Don was released from duty, they returned to their farm north of Cokato, where they continued to farm for many years to come.
Their baby girl was born May 10, 1957, and died that same day. Their son, Scott Donald was born Jan. 2, 1959. Tragically, Scott was lost in a farming accident July 2, 1960.
Don and Buddy enjoyed extensive traveling (China, Alaska, Mexico, Hawaii, Canada, most of the 50 states, Finland and Europe). They enjoyed their ritual of cribbage games.
They were members of Evangelical Lutheran Church in Cokato.
In 1995, Don and Buddy bought their winter home in Apache Junction, AZ.
Don retired from farming in 2002, and they built their retirement home on a portion of the land they had farmed for over 50 years.
Buddy passed away June 9, 2014.
Donald is survived by his sisters, Mildred Nelson and Shirley Tyni; many nieces and nephews; and numerous great and great-great nieces and nephews.
Donald was preceded in death by his parents, Fred and Anna; wife Bertha; a baby girl; son Scott; sisters Mabel (Verlund) Compton, Alice (Jacob) Hoikka, and Dorothy (Martin) Lampi; and brothers Ralph (Harriet), Harry (Ruth), and Carl (Marilyn).
He will be greatly missed.
A memorial service took place Tuesday, June 6 at 11 a.m. at Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cokato; with visitation at the church beginning at 9:30 a.m. Interment was at Cokato Finnish Cemetery.
Arrangements were with Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home and Cremation Service; www.swansonpeterson.com.