Dr. Gerald (Gerry) William Nelson

Dr. Gerald (Gerry) William Nelson

Cold Spring
October 14, 1933 - May 14, 2022

It is with great sadness that the family of Dr. Gerald (Gerry) William Nelson announces his passing on May 14, 2022, to be with the Lord, his Savior. Words cannot describe Gerald’s character, heart, or life. 

Gerry was a humble, modest man. Per his request, there will be a private family service and burial at Camp Ripley, Little Falls, Mn.

Gerald was born on October 14, 1933, to Albert and Agnes (Palm) Nelson in St. Francis, MN. He married Jeannie Philippi on September 9, 1967. The union of Gerry and Jeannie brought three children: Erik, Jeffrey, and Amybeth. He raised his children with love, kindness, and a gentle patience. 

Being the youngest of a large family and born during the Great Depression, influenced and shaped his formative years growing up. Gerald loved growing up on the farm surrounded by family, friends, and their Swedish heritage. He quickly learned the value of hard work, kindness, and looking to the future while working side by side with his family. While not doing chores, he cherished being with his siblings, playing games, doing projects, and being a member of the Nelson Brothers Basketball Team that traveled around playing other schools. Gerald played football, basketball, and baseball in school. Gerald and his brother Pat were on the first team at St. Francis High School to earn a District Trophy for the school in basketball.

In his early years, he attended school in St. Francis, Mn. After graduating high school, he farmed on the family farm with his father and brother, Pat. In 1957, he was drafted into the United States Army as a Corporal Specialist 4 and was stationed in Germany. He was honorably discharged in 1959. Gerald knew that an education is one of the most valuable assets a person can have to be successful. Upon arriving home from the Army, he attended the University of Minnesota majoring in Biology and went on to earn his Veterinary Medicine Degree at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. He graduated in 1965. .

His professional life began with his first position out of college at the Cold Spring Veterinary Clinic where he met his future wife, Jeannie. Jeannie brought her dog into the clinic to be seen and after a couple of check-ups, Gerry took her out on a date in his vet truck on a large animal call and stopped at KFC on the way home. Over the course of Gerry’s career, he was the founder/owner of the Watkins Veterinary Clinic and the Granite City Pet Hospital, PA in St. Cloud, Mn.

Over the years, Gerry was involved in his community and served others. He supported many community projects and donated his time to many organizations in his life. Gerry felt that there was a need for the community members to be able to support activities at Rocori and founded the Rocori Booster Club. In 1995, Gerry was inducted into the Rocori Athletics Hall of Fame. He volunteered with many of his kid’s activities and projects. If Gerry could be at school or in the gym, he was in his glory.

His love for education never ended with college. He was a life-long learner and never left a stone unturned. One could find him spending time with family, reading a variety of books (especially history and war novels), tending to his flowers and yard, working with his antique clocks and furniture, and building and restoring furniture, and woodworking.

Gerry had earned many honors and cherished titles, aside from being a simple man. He would never boast or tell anyone all of his successes. His true nature was of a kind man with a heart of gold. Unselfish is a word that describes him in every sense. Whether he knew you as family, friend, or neighbor, he put the human spirit ahead of his own and never expected anything in return. While in his presence, he would demonstrate his keen sense of humor to all.

Gerry’s greatest love was his family. He was a family man in every sense of the word. He adored and took great pride in his children and grandchildren. The time he spent with his kids and grandkids was the brightest spot in his life. He was always ready to teach them how to do something, help with schoolwork and projects, have heart to heart talks, give strength and guidance in a gentle way, and just “be” with them doing anything. Gerry would guide, share, and gently teach his kids and grandkids, never, every bossy. Gerry’s legacy will live on through generations.

Gerry is survived by his three children: Erik (Marina) Nelson, Maple Grove, MN, Dr. Jeffrey (Amy Sue) Nelson, and Amybeth (Joshua) Loesch, eight grandchildren: Nikolai Nelson; Kaitlyn, Benjamin, Alexandra,and Will Nelson; Olivia, Adeline, and Beck Loesch.

He was preceded in death by his wife Jeannie (Philippi) 2018, parents Albert and Agnes (Palm) Nelson, siblings: Marjorie Ackerson, Vernal, Dorothy Arthur, Marian Reed, Morris, Marvel Lange, Ronald, Warren (Pat) and two foster sisters: Lucille Hansen and Loretta Curtain. In laws: Pattie (Steve) Schmid, Mark (Betty) Philippi, and Susan (Scott) Cheeley. Many more inlaw,, and nieces and nephews.

Gerry served God, his Country, his family, and animals. Gerry had a strong pride and patriotism for his country. He knew the value of being a citizen of the United States of America and fighting for your country. The flag of the United States of America was very special to him. Raise the flag in honor of Gerry and have a dish of ice cream while watching it wave in the breeze.

Please email: memoriesofasweetman@gmail.com to share memories of Gerry for his kids and grandchildren. A book will be made.

Arrangements are with Wenner Funeral Home, Cold Spring.

Wenner Funeral Home
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