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.