Kenneth Duane “Kenny” Nelson, the youngest of Richard and Malina’s children, was born May 23, 1923 in Frazee, and passed away on Saturday, December 21, 2013 in Detroit Lakes.
He is survived by his son Kit (Jackie) Nelson of Vergas and their two children, Kristoff (Kate) of Boston, Mass., and Jessica (Wayne) Wegener of Blaine, Minn., and their children Isabelle and Brynlee; and his daughter Julie Nelson of St. Paul.
His siblings and wife, Pearl (Mistelske) Nelson preceded him in death.
Kenny loved the outdoors, had a kind heart, and taught his children to honor and respect nature as well. Many family vacations were enjoyed camping at the Arrowhead and Gunflint trails, with a few sojourns to Yellowstone, the Black Hills, and the Grand Teton National Parks. He was an avid hunter and fisherman with family and friends.
He loved music, encouraged his children to play in the band, and was known to play his old C-melody saxophone upon occasion. He loved his daughter’s Manchester terrier, “Spike,” and played “hide and seek” with Spike, crawling on his hands and knees from room to room. He also loved watching football, as this was his passion while attending Frazee High School.
At the age of 18, Kenny enlisted in the Marines in 1942, and became one of the elite Carlson’s Raiders. He was an excellent Marine, and fought in Guadalcanal (Carlson’s Long Patrol) and Okinawa, where he was seriously wounded. After his recovery, he married and served limited duty in Oceanside, Calif., until his honorable discharge.
Kenny returned to Vergas and studied mechanics at Wahpeton State School of Science. In the early 1950s, his family relocated to Minneapolis, where he worked as a diesel mechanic, eventually retiring from Hennepin County and returning to Vergas’ Sybil Lake to resume his passions for fishing, hunting and golf.
He and wife Pearl attended many Marine Raider reunions throughout the country and traveled to Norway and Germany, as well as taking winter vacations away from snow and cold!
Kenny will be greatly missed by his children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and friends, as he was a special dad, grandpa and uncle to all. His boisterous laughter, mischievous sense of humor, and loving, loyal nature will echo forever in the hearts of those who knew and loved him.
Services are scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 28, at West-Kjos Funeral Home in Detroit Lakes, with a viewing at 1 p.m., and a service at 2 p.m.