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Thelma A. Nelson
(November 29, 1911 - January 11, 2013)

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Thelma A. Nelson

Thelma Astrid Opheim Nelson of Decorah, Iowa passed away Friday, January 11, 2013 at Winneshiek Medical Center in Decorah at the age of 101.

Thelma was born November 29, 1911 in Shevlin, Minnesota. She was the youngest daughter of Arne and Thale (Marso) Opheim, immigrants from Nordfjord, Norway. Thelma was baptized, confirmed and married at Clearwater Lutheran Church in Shevlin. She participated in Sunday school, Luther League and Choir and it was here that her faith in Christ grew and became the source of her life.

Thelma taught in three different country schools and eventually joined the Navy WAVES during World War II, where she was assigned to Wold Chamberlain Naval Station. She spent two years at the Navy base and on September 24, 1944 she married Ardath Loyal Nelson. Thereafter, they made their home in Minneapolis where they raised three children; Marilyn, Loyal and Cynthia. Thelma and Ardath were longtime members of Zion Lutheran Church in Minneapolis where they served their congregation in countless ways. They were active volunteers in their community as well, packaging meals for the homebound and volunteering in the public schools.

Thelma and Ardath moved to Decorah, Iowa in 2003 and Ardath passed away July 31, 2004. Thelma spent the last year of her life at Barthell Order of Eastern Star Nursing Home where she enjoyed all the activities and formed new friendships with residents and staff. She loved choral music, was an avid reader and a student of the Bible.

Thelma was preceded in death by her husband Ardath, her son Loyal Dean Nelson on March 15, 2009; her parents Arne and Thale; sisters, Anna, Ragna, Berta, Bertha and several nieces and nephews. She is survived by her daughters, Marilyn (Loyal) Rue and Cynthia (Gerald) Anderson, grandchildren Carl Rue, Anna (Charles McNulty) Rue, Elena Rue (fiancé Joseph Fletcher), Loren (Sara) Anderson, Stephanie (Daniel) Frischmann, Loyal Shin Nelson and Leif Con Nelson and three great-grandaughters, Solenne Anderson, Annika Anderson and Charlotte McNulty. She is also survived by sister Hilda Halvorson of Bagley, Minnesota, sister-in-law Enza Nelson and many nieces and nephews including her niece and Goddaughter, Janice Tousley.

Funeral Services will be held at 11:00 AM, Saturday, January 19, 2013 at Washburn-McReavy Glen Haven Chapel, 5125 West Broadway, Crystal, Minnesota with interment at Glen Haven Memorial Gardens. Visitation will be one hour prior to the funeral with a luncheon following the service.

Memorials may be directed to River of Life Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, Barthell Order of Eastern Star Nursing Home in Decorah or to a charity of the donor’s choice.

Thelma’s family is grateful for the wonderful care she received both at Eastern Star Nursing Home and Winneshiek Medical Center. Thelma will be remembered as a kind and gentle woman who lived her faith daily and enriched the lives of all who were fortunate enough to know her.

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