Nature 19

Elaine Louise (Tjaden) Nelson

October 9, 1927 ~ December 31, 2021 (age 94)


Elaine Louise (Tjaden) Nelson passed away peacefully on December 31, 2021, in Cottage Grove, Minnesota, at the age of 94. 

Elaine was born on October 9, 1927, and grew up the tenth of eleven children in Fergus Falls, MN.  After graduation from high school she worked for several years at a dental lab.  On Feb. 22, 1949, she married Willard Nelson, whom she had known since childhood. Their marriage lasted nearly 70 years until Willard’s death on Feb.1, 2019. 

Elaine and Willard raised five children in New London, Minnesota, where Willard was the New London-Spicer High School principal and superintendent for 34 years. When the children grew older, Elaine worked as a realtor in the New London-Spicer area. A woman of deep faith, she was very active in the Evangelical Covenant Church. 

After retirement in 1994, Elaine and Willard relocated to Cottage Grove, Minnesota, to be near their children and extended family. As grandparents, and later great-grandparents, their home was the center of many joyous family gatherings.  

Elaine published two books: a novel, Patches of Daisies, concerning the lives of Norwegian emigrants, and Poems and Prose, a collection of short fiction. Elaine and Willard loved to travel and were proud to have visited all fifty U.S. states, as well as each of Minnesota’s 65 state parks and a few international countries as well. Elaine was a lifelong gardener, birdwatcher, and advocate for monarch butterflies. She loved to sing, had a near photographic memory, adored her grand and great grandchildren, was a very loving mother and a devoted wife and helpmate for her dear Willard. 

Elaine was preceded in death by her parents, Okko P and Louise Tjaden; her husband Willard Nelson; her five sisters, Mae, Luella, Belvia, Rena and Mona and four brothers, Otto, Fred, Dana and Glen.  Elaine is survived by her brother, Kenneth (Joyce) Tjaden of St. Paul, Minnesota; her five children: Karen (Doug) Kitt of San Francisco, CA, Philip (Mary King) Nelson of Woodinville, WA, Mary (Chris) Moe of St. Paul Park, MN, Amy (Randy) Krussow of Cottage Grove, MN, and Peter (Diane) Nelson of North St. Paul, MN; eleven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. 

The family would like to express our gratitude to the staff of Visiting Angels In-Home Care Allina Hospice, The Gables Care Center at Norris Square and Optage Hospice for the compassionate care given to our mother in the last few years of her life.   

May the memory of Elaine Nelson be a blessing. 

To read Willard Nelson's obituary and tribute wall, please "CLICK HERE"



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A Memorial Tree was planted for Elaine

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