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Gerald J Nelson

Gerald J Nelson

Gerald J. Nelson, age 89, passed away peacefully on Thursday, November 19, 2020, at his home in the Township of Rock Elm, rural Plum City, where he lived his entire life.

Gerald was born at home on January 31, 1931 to Archie and Hannah (Pittman) Nelson.  He was the second oldest of four children.  He attended Exile Grade School and graduated from Elmwood High School in 1948.  After high school he worked on the family farm and later purchased it.  In 1962 he married Mary Jane Reinardy at St. Mary’s in New Trier, Minnesota.  After marriage they continued farming and raised nine children. 

Gerald took pride in his family and farm.  He raised dairy cattle, hogs, and crops of hay, oats, and corn for many years before retiring.  Gerald expanded the farm over the years by purchasing neighboring farms before selling the farm to two of his sons.  He enjoyed playing cards, hunting, fishing, traveling, and watching his children and grandchildren participate in sports and other activities.  He enjoyed trips to the casino, the Black Hills, Las Vegas, Branson, Nashville and the Rocky Mountains, with his favorite being a trip to Alaska.

Gerald is survived by his wife of 58 years, Mary Jane, his children, Donna of Eau Claire, WI, Sandy (Tom) Winter of New Berlin, WI, Karen (Gary) Van Schoonhoven of McFarland, WI, Gail (Kurt) Gruebling of Farmington, MN, James of Plum City, WI, Tom (Maria) of Plum City, WI, Tim of Plum City, WI, Amy (Tim) Peabody of Spring Valley, WI, and Lisa (Chris) DeMaster of Plymouth, MN and his sister Cleo (Lloyd) Frye of Rochester, WI and his sister-in-law Mary Ann Nelson of La Crosse, WI.  He is also survived by 13 grandchildren Nicole, Amanda, Brett, Courtney, Matthew, Hannah, Paige, Heidi, Michael, Jake, Parker, Peyton, and Allison, and one great granddaughter, Jordyn and many nieces, nephews, and many other relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Darlene (George) Toon, his brother Allen, two infant daughters Mary and Michelle, and one grandson Mason DeMaster.

A private family service will be held on Tuesday, November 24, 2020 at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Arkansaw, Wisconsin. The Mass will be livestreamed on the Rhiel Funeral Home Facebook page. Burial will be in the church cemetery.

Memorials may be made to the American Diabetes Association, www.diabetes.org/diabetes, or your local food pantry.

Rhiel Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Durand, is serving the family.


  1. Terry Frederick

    All of us and Advocate Aurora are so sorry for your families loss. We send our strength and prayers for all of you. I am sure there were some great stories shared at the service.

  2. Carol

    Our sympathy to the Nelson family on the passing of Gerald.

  3. Ken and Eileen Schmidt

    Please accept our condolences, Mary Jane and your family for the loss of Gerald. He was a thoroughly decent man in every way, as a husband, father, businessman and Christian. Your family can be assured that he is already in Heaven. God bless you.

  4. Jackie Hunt

    My thoughts and prayers are with the whole Nelson family. You couldn't ask for a better family loving and taking care of each other. As I encounter the children, there is always a smile on their face while telling me about the farm and such. God bless your family during this difficult time.

  5. John Anibas

    Heart felt sympathy to the family

  6. Barb (Bauer) Overman

    My thoughts and prayers go to the families of Gerald.

  7. Tanya Maves

    Jim, Tim, Tom and family...So sorry to hear about your Dad and for your family's loss. You all come from a big and loving family, so I am certain you are surrounded by much comfort and prayer by those closest and of course your friends too.

  8. Geri Langer

    Mary Jane - Sorry for your loss of Gerald. To your kids and grandkids, sorry for the loss of your Dad/Grandad. You will miss him, but remember the good times.

  9. Mary Brunner

    Lisa and family-so sorry for the loss of your dad. I remember attending church in Arkansaw with you and your family. Prayers for healing.

  10. Geri Langer

    Our sympathy to your whole family. Mary Jane - Sorry for the loss of Gerald. To the kids and grandkids, I know you’re going to miss your Dad/Granddad. But keep remembering the good times.

  11. Dutch Elbe

    A salute to Gerald in the passing of another "Good Ole American Farmer. Condolences to the entire Nelson family.

  12. David & Dorothy Anibas

    Sending our thoughts and prayers to Mary Jane and
    family.Gerald was a good farmer and friend.Rest in

  13. Dennis & Ramona Schneider

    Our thought and prayers to to ALL the Nelsons at this time.????????

  14. Eugene & Pat Thurmes

    We are sorry for your loss; our thoughts and prayers go out to all the family.

  15. Laura Hartung

    I am sorry to hear Gerald passed away. You are all in my thoughts and prayers!

    Laura Hartung (Guy & June Hartung's daughter)

  16. Steven Schultz

    My thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. Always Remembered!

  17. Theresa Dobias

    So sorry for your loss. Such a wonderful, hard working man. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

  18. John and Patty Wayne

    Our Deepest Sympathy goes out to you family. Gerald was wonderful man glad I got to meet him through my work.

  19. Terry frederick

    So sorry for your family loss Sandy. Losing a dad changes everyt.hing

  20. Laurie Heit

    I'm so sorry to hear of the loss of Gerald. May he be with our loving Lord now, and watch over all of you as well.

  21. Linda & Spencer Brunner

    Our deepest sympathies to Mary Jane and the entire family.

  22. Pat and Cindy Auth

    So sorry to hear about Gerald's passing. Our thoughts and prayers to Mary Jane and all the Nelson families.

  23. Joanne ‘McRoberts’ Hovey

    Sympathy to Geralds family. He was a kind man that will be missed by many. God Bless.????

  24. Florian and Karen Reinardy

    Sending prayers and thoughts to your family in this difficult time.

  25. Sandy Drier

    My thoughts & prayers are with you during this difficult time. Hugs to all.

  26. pat plumer

    Knew and deer hunted many years with Gerald, Great family man, my deepest condolences and sending prayers to the Nelson family.


  27. Naomi Schultz

    So sorry to hear about your loss; my heart goes out to you and your family.

  28. Tracey Tulip

    So sorry for your family's loss. Sending prayers for your family????????

  29. Dawne Green

    Sorry for your loss! Prayers to you and your mom and family.????????

  30. Peggy McRoberts

    Sorry for your loss

  31. Jerry and Tammy Wolf

    Lisa and the Nelson family,

    We are so very sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with your and your entire family.

  32. Joe and Jan Drier

    Sending our Sympathy and Prayers to you Mary Jane and your Family!!

  33. Bill McRoberts

    I am very sorry for your family's loss, you are all in my thoughts and prayers.

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