John Arden Nelson 81, Balaton, died Tuesday, March 29, 2022 at his home.
Visitation was held Sunday, April 3 from 1-4 p.m. at St. Ann Catholic Church in Slayton with a Rosary at 3 p.m. and a Prayer Service at 3:30 p.m.
Mass of Christian Burial was held Monday, April 4 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Ann Catholic Church in Slayton with Father Thien Nguyen officiating.
Honorary casket bearers were Duane Carlson, Randy VanderPoel, Dave Fadness, Dan Anderson, Gene Rood, Dale Iverson, Joe Tutt and Gary Cuppy.
Casket bearers were Josh Roggenbuck, Bradon Nelson, Bryce Nelson, Terry Nelson, Amanda Philipp, Austin Philipp, Jett Nelson and Wayne Howe.
Interment was in Sillerud Lutheran Cemetery, Balaton.
John Arden Nelson (“Swede”) was born to Rueben and Viola (Bengston) Nelson on April 6, 1940, in Ellsborough Township, Murray County, MN on the farm where he was raised. He was baptized and confirmed at Sillerud Lutheran Church in rural Balaton, MN. He attended elementary ad high school at Ruthton Public School. He purchased his farm at the age of 18 (1958) where he lived until the time of his death. On April 20, 1963, Arden and Sharon Engbarth were united in marriage at St. Martin Catholic Church in Woodstock, MN which they were a member of until it closed in 2017. He died peacefully at home on the farm surrounded by his family on Tuesday, March 29, 2022, at the age of 81 years, 11 months and 23 days.
In his younger years, he was great at roller-skating (he was certainly one of the best). In 4-H he enjoyed showing beef cattle at the county and state fair and AKSARBEN. He was busy fishing, hunting, playing softball and boating at Current Lake and at the family cabin on Lake Andrews near New London, MN. As soon as he was old enough, he worked on the farm and helped his dad with the family custom farming business. At the age of 16 he purchased a new 1955 Chevy Bel-Air off the show room floor in Slayton, MN. (He always wished he had kept that car!)
Eventually he partnered with his father and brother Richard, and they formed Rueben E. Nelson & Sons Custom Farming. They hauled grain and livestock, shelled corn, baled hay, oats and flax and filled silos with corn silage from Current Lake all the way to Woodstock, MN.
Arden was a grain and dairy farmer for over 30 years and did custom farming (tillage and swathing). His first new tractor was a 1965 John Deere 3010 with a narrow front. He sold Grade A milk to AMPI and was a member of the Dairy Herd Improvement Association. For many years he sold RBA corn and sunflower seed. In 1988, he started Nelson Trucking and hauled for Conrad Peterson Trucking, Bose Brothers Trucking and Dan Schak Trucking. He cherished the friendships and conversations with fellow drivers. Sharon joined him on many trips, and they visited many family and friends and sites across the United States making many memories together.
He was a member of the GTA/Harvest State Cooperative Monday night bowling team. They were very competitive and were occasionally a bit salty if they didn’t win. He enjoyed dancing with Sharon at area ballrooms, fishing trips, snowmobiling, and was an excellent water skier. He liked wood crafting and tending to his vegetable garden and apple trees, and readily shared his abundant harvest with his neighbors. Sharon and Arden received a Norwegian Elk Hound dog as a wedding gift and had one on the farm until 2021. He loved his dogs and named them all Elsa or Eric except for the last two they named Dakota and Java. Keeping their farm place pristine was an enjoyment for Arden and Sharon and they spent many hours on the lawn mowers.
As a volunteer at St. Martin Catholic Church Arden served as a communion minister, religious education instructor,and a member of the cemetery board and parish council. He looked forward to the annual Men’s Roast Beef Dinner fundraiser and always donated Schwan’s vanilla ice cream cups. He shared his talent of woodworking with members of the 4-H program as a project and club leader. He also enjoyed going to the Minnesota State Fair and watching his children showcase their projects, visit his sons at State Fair Farm Boys Camp and watch his daughter perform in State 4-H Arts-In.
He was a man who enjoyed traditions and the traditional way of life. The annual “Deer Hunting Weekend” was top of the list, and he looked forward to it every year. It was common for him to be the first to shoot a deer. He enjoyed hosting Nelson Family Reunions to keep in touch with his aunts, uncles and extended family. Celebrating his Swedish heritage was important. He proudly recited the Swedish Table Prayer for all family gatherings. He loved all the Swedish foods served at holiday celebrations and looked forward to attending the annual Ellsborough Lutheran Church Lutefisk Dinner each November. A specialty food that he was a master at making is “Superb Chocolate Fudge.”
He will be remembered for being brave, strong, and courageous as he battled cancer for 7 years. Arden had a good sense of humor. He was a humble, generous and kind man. His wife, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were the most important thing in the world to him. They will remember his smile, twinkling eyes, and the love he so readily and generously shared with them. He spent his life taking care to provide for and nurture the garden that was his family, whom he loved so dearly.
He is lovingly remembered by his wife, Sharon Nelson of Balaton; children, Darla (Paul) Philipp of Fairmont, MN, Kindel (Deb) Nelson of Lake Wilson, MN and John (special friend, Michele Langer) of Mankato, MN; six grandchildren, Amanda Philipp, Austin Philipp (special friend Anna Mundahl), Josh Roggenbuck (fiancé, Sara Ulrich), Jett Nelson, Bradon Nelson and Bryce Nelson; two great-grandchildren, Macie and Layla Roggenbuck; one brother, Marlin (Karen) Nelson of Brandon, SD; one sister-in-law, Alva Enemark of Tyler, MN; 4H Exchange Student, Keiko Charif; brothers- and sisters-in-law, William (Carolyn) Engbarth, Jack (Faye) Engbarth, Pat (Cindy) Engbarth, Mark Engbarth, Mary DeKam, and Alfred (Karen) Engbarth.
He was preceded in death by his parents; infant brother, Marvin; brother, Richard Nelson; sisters, Carol (ex-husband, Don) Eveland and Louis (Walt) Howe; father- and mother-in-law, John and Georgianna Engbarth; sisters-in-law, Connie (Larry) Price, Marlys (Vern) Tiedeman, Vicki Engbarth and Lynette Engbarth; and former sister-in-law, Dianne Lundblad.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace.
(Hartquist Funeral Home,