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Edward O. Nelson

Edward O. Nelson

Edward Oscar Nelson was born on February 1, 1921; he passed away on January 30, 2019. He passed away peacefully -- -- in his beloved home of almost 70 years in the woods by Bush Lake, deer on the lawn, American flag blowing in the wind, listening to the recorded blessing of Pastor Elisabeth Backstrom from the family church in Grsmark , Sweden; sun setting; Ship Captain's clock chiming in the background. He lived a wonderful life. Dad graduated from Osceola High School in 1939. After December 7, 1941, he enlisted in the Navy -- -- as his father had done in WW I. He learned Morse Code, and eventually became a Radioman First Class. His first ship was the USS Santee (CVE 29); his second ship was the USS Kadashan Bay (CVE-76). His ship and its crew survived the Battle of Leyte Gulf in October 1944 (the last and greatest battle at sea in world history). His ship was attacked by a suicide pilot. He kept a picture of the suicide plane attacking his ship on his wall -- -- reminding him daily of how lucky his life had been. He calculated (not estimated, calculated) that he and his ships traveled 138,772 miles crossing the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Along the way, he found peace during the nighttime by sleeping outside in a hammock by the carrier's guns, listening to the ship's flags flapping in the wind, as well as the sounds of the ship's wake, eyes locked on the stars that he imagined also blanketed his home and family in Wisconsin. Dad and Mom (Fern Viola Swanson) married in March of 1945. It was a controversial marriage -- -- Norwegian bride and Swedish groom -- -- at West Immanuel Lutheran Church. Despite the controversy, the minister reportedly relented: "We're at war; what the heck," he is said to have said. It was a happy and rainy day, featuring the groom carrying the bride over the mud to the reception hall across from the church. Grandpa and Grandma Swanson had saved their tractor's gas ration coupons so the newlyweds could drive to the St. Paul Hotel for their honeymoon. After the war, Dad worked for Northwest Airlines, starting a life-long career in Reservations. He would come home glowing with pride about a perfectly-filled plane -- -- no empty seats, and nobody left behind. In 1950, Mom and Dad moved to their beloved home on top of a hill by Bush Lake in the woods of Bloomington. They thought it would be "a good place to raise children," and it was. Dad planted pine tree seedlings all over the yard, as he and his Dad had done at Horse Creek (which are now giant Pines); and he re-located bright red peonies from Horse Creek to adorn his yard, peonies that have now passed down to the yards of his children and grandchildren. Three flags were always blowing in the wind (the American flag, along with a Norwegian and a Swedish flag); and a giant Santa and sleigh and reindeer stood at the top of the hill every December. Mom and Dad were married for over 70 years -- -- a marriage of deep, gentle and pure love -- -- holding hands until the end; never a raised voice, although occasionally a rolled eye; and always a kind and encouraging word. The family cannot remember a baseball game, a skating competition or a gymnastics match missed. Dad traveled often to Washington D.C. He researched his ships' histories at the National Archives, Annapolis, and the Library of Congress, and developed two magnificent scrapbooks about virtually every day on each ship. He visited each of his Captains, by then Admirals, on Coronado, near San Diego. Dad leaves us with poignant and important memories. He was an excellent photographer, trying Mom's patience on occasion with the quiet arrival of a new camera or lens; his handwriting was unique and elegant; he loved baseball -- -- from playing for the Osceola Chieftans, to watching the Minneapolis Millers at the old Nicollet Park, to listening to the Twins on his transistor radio, to seeing Mark McGwire hit a home run during his 1998 record-setting year; he and Mom loved volunteering at the Kaff Stuga at the American Swedish Institute; he received a standing ovation from his fellow sailors at the Kadashan Bay reunion, thankful as they were for his service as ship historian; he startled us all at his retirement party by the grace and ease of his public speaking; he loved cars with color (like his plum and cream '56 Chevy); he received the WCCO Radio Good Neighbor Award, along with Mom, for their volunteer work in so many arenas; he was a special guest at the commissioning of the aircraft carrier USS Reagan (bearing the Kadashan Bay's "76"); he loved flowers; he battled the neighborhood squirrels, who persisted in raiding his bird feeders, to the point that he captured them and transported them to forests far, far away; he loved the arrival of Spring, bringing with it his crop of giant (and aptly named) ferns, followed by mowing his beloved lawn on his John Deere tractor and then the annual campaign of raking and hauling away the oak tree leaves in preparation for winter -- -- our theater of the seasons; he savored the Swedish "long fence" that bordered his front driveway; he enjoyed a funny remark, and laughed heartily at the telling of a good joke (including his own); his eyes often glistened with tears of joy and pride; and he read constantly, especially about history, and the history he had lived. Dad's passing marks the end of his generation in our family. He leaves behind several nephews and nieces and their families, who loved him dearly (and who called him "Eddie"). He leaves behind his children and their families: Karen (married to Gary -- -- and their children, Matt, married to Kathryn, and their children Gavin and Amara; Elizabeth, married to Owen, and their children, Fiona and Philip; and Gina Marie, married to Michael); Mark (married to Terrie -- -- and their daughter, Kirstin, married to Chris, and their children, Jessa and Tristan); and Tom (married to Susan -- -- and their children Robert, married to Anna, and their son, Caleb; and Michael, married to Christine). We are deeply grateful to Elizabeth and Gina, and our beloved Mary Jane Edlefsen, who cared for Mom and Dad for years, with their gentle humor and loving embraces. We also thank Eric Manyibi for his care along the way. Memorials, if desired, could go to: The American Swedish Institute. 2600 Park Avenue South. Minneapolis, MN 55407; West Immanuel Lutheran Church. 447 180th Street. Osceola, Wisconsin 54020; or Bethesda Lutheran Church at Sand Lake (Dad's childhood church). 715 110th Avenue. Dresser, Wisconsin 54009. The funeral service will be on Friday, February 8 at 11:00 AM at West Immanuel Lutheran Church in Osceola, Wisconsin -- -- down the road from Horse Creek and Cedar Lake, on top of the hill. Together again; in a gentle place. Two kind and loving people, deeply in love with one another and their family, completing their circle of life. "Takk for Alt," as he would say to all of us now; and as we now say back to him, with love. Arrangements are with Bakken-Young Funeral & Cremation Services