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Arnold S Nelson

Arnold S Nelson

Arnold S. “Arnie” Nelson passed away on February 27th, 2024, after a short, but hard-fought battle with stage four esophageal cancer. He lived a life dedicated to his family, strong core values, his faith, and a career in agronomy in which he impacted lives and hearts across the country.

On May 11th, 1957, he was born to Glenn and Dorothy (Reinkey) Nelson as their youngest son, baby Arnie. In 1975, he was a graduate of Elmwood High School in Elmwood, WI. He then went on to graduate from UW-River Falls with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture. Upon graduation, he began his career with Land O’Lakes/WinField United of which he remained loyal to for 44 years.

On September 12th, 1981, he married his high school crush, Lori Bates. Shortly after their marriage, they moved from Green Bay, WI to Baraboo, WI where they built a wonderful life. Together, they raised three children: their eldest, Derek, and their two twin daughters, Tiffany and Tara.

Not only was Arnie known by his children as the world's best dad, but he was also a world traveler. Together, Arnie and Lori traveled the world and reached all 50 States and the seven continents. The final, long-sought destination being Antarctica in January of 2023. Arnie proudly dedicated his career to Land O’Lakes and created many beloved memories with his colleagues and friends. He was instrumental in building the CROPLAN brand to what it is today and passionate about mentoring, leading, and inspiring countless others in agriculture.

Arnie believed in the best of everyone, and their willpower to overcome challenges. His love was genuine, impactful, and far-reaching. The visits and messages of love that have poured in during this difficult time gave him the hope to fight as hard as he could, and that he did. Arnie battled cancer with the same hope, grace, and “contagious calm” we all knew and grew to love him for. We could not be more grateful for the love everyone has shown, and the time we were fortunate to have. A special thanks to Dr. Uboha and all the staff that took care of Arnie at UW Health. Just as Arnie often shared with all of us, he was incredibly proud of the Cancer Team he was blessed to have in the end.

Arnie’s legacy of love, humility, adventure, and passion for agriculture, will live on forever in the hearts of his surviving family: wife, Lori; children Derek Nelson, Tiffany Nelson, Tara (Tyler) Nelson-Henke; elder siblings Greg (Vicki) Nelson, Carrie (Jan) Nelson, and Ann Siegel; sisters-in-law Linda Kitchner, Sue Bates and Mary Bates; aunts and uncles, Pat (Ralph) Ginsbach John (Vera) Nelson; many nieces and nephews; his many beloved coworkers and dear friends over the years, and his beloved dog, Willie Nelson. Arnie is predeceased in death by his parents, Glenn and Dorothy Nelson; father-in-law and mother-in-law, Jim and Ilene Bates; and brothers-in-law, Dave Siegel and Jim Kitchner. He is also preceded by his not-forgotten shadow, his dog Bella, who we often laughed was undeniably waiting for him too.

It is Arnie’s wish to celebrate his life in the spring. On April 6th, 2024 services will be held in Elmwood, WI at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. A visitation will begin at 10:00AM with mass following at 11:00AM. Friends and family are welcome in joining the procession following mass to the burial at St. Henry’s Catholic Cemetery in Eau Galle.  A celebration of life will be held afterwards at Lucette Event Pavillion (Lucette Brewery) in Menomonie with food and beverages from 1:30PM-5:00PM. Please join us in celebrating his legacy.

Memorials can be made in Arnie's name to: secure.supportuw.org for UW Carbone Cancer Center Greatest Need selecting Gastrointestinal Cancer Research Fund 112900278 or for an Agricultural Scholarship Fund being established in Arnie's name.

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


  1. Jaynie Dykes

    My deepest condolences to you Lori and your family. I had the pleasure of working with Arnie for more than 25 years and always enjoyed our conversations and working with him. He was truly one of a kind and will be deeply missed by all!

  2. Bob Dude

    Our family’s kind thoughts and a prayer for you and your family as you celebrate a life well lived this weekend. We are all better because of Arnie.

  3. Larry and Carol Sprague

    Lori and kids, we are so sorry to hear of Arnie's passing. Seems the only time we see the cousins these days is at funerals. Take care and know that we are thinking of all of you.
    (I also, really like the name of his dog.....Willie Nelson) :)

  4. Rod Cameron

    I was a friend of Arnie during our high school days and we had a great road trip to California after he graduated. I feel bad that we didn’t keep in touch. Rest in peace, Arnie!

  5. Debbie Baier

    Sending healing prayers and comforting hugs. I am so sorry for your loss.

  6. Ole Jallo

    Lori and family I am sorry for your loss of Arnie he lsbxwkmuwas a great man and will be missed by many. I am glad to have known him as a friend and coworker. God be with you and give you strength in this very difficult time. Ole Jallo

  7. Roger Watke

    In my 27 years of training salespeople and managers, there were very few people who truly cared for their sales agronomists as did Arne. His desire to serve well resulted in employees and customers who were much the better for it. Rest in peace my friend!!

  8. Pamela Wolf

    I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with the Nelson and Bates family.

  9. Jerry and Tammy Wolf

    Lori and family - We were so saddened to hear of Arnie's passing. Our deepest sympathy to you and your family. He was a wonderful guy and you two were such a great couple. He will be missed by all who knew him.

  10. jeff Pelzel

    So sorry to hear about your loss, my sympathy goes to Lori and their family.

  11. Patti Bacher (Perry)

    Our deepest sympathy and condolences. He was a great guy. May you have Peace and Comfort in all your memories of Annie. Shine Bright my High School Friend.

  12. Ralph & Maria Varsho

    We are so sorry Carrie at the loss of your brother. Know that our prayers are with you and yours. God Bless you all.


  13. Diane Bechel Bee & Dan Bee

    Sorry for your family's loss. We were classmates. ruke

  14. Dick & Jan Bates

    Lori & family:
    So sorry to hear of your loss. Your family will be remembered in our prayers.

    Dick & Jan

  15. Nick and Sue Sperger

    Arnie was a good person. He will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time. ????????????????????

  16. Suzi Crownhart

    My deepest sympathy to the Nelson Family.

  17. Tammy Buesing Sachse

    Lori and family my sympathies in the loss of Arnie.

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