Ansel Monroe Nelson, of Mora, died on Tuesday, July 9, 2019, losing his battle with cancer. He passed on around 4:00 p.m., and his suffering finally concluded with friends and family at his side. He and his wife are reunited again. He was 78 years old.
Monroe, or known by those close to him as simply “Roe,” began his amazing life in Detroit, Michigan on June 12, 1941. He was one of three children; his father, also Ansel Nelson and mother, Anne (Fahlman) Nelson, chose Kane, Pennsylvania as the place to raise their children.
After completing his formal education, he went on to attend Clarion University in Pennsylvania. Once he earned his bachelor’s degree, he tried his hand at teaching high school math and chemistry before enlisting in the United States Navy. His naval career began in January of 1966 and ended in February of 1972. During this time, he went through flight school and became an aviator. He went to sea aboard the USS Enterprise and spent two years stationed in Antarctica during operation Deep Freeze. While in Antarctica, he showed his courage and spirit rescuing the downed crew of an incoming aircraft during zero visibility whiteout blizzard conditions. He was recognized and awarded a medal for his bravery and promoted to the rank of lieutenant.
In 1971, while stationed at Point Mugu, he found the love of his life at a naval ball. There he met Suzanne Marie Bouchard, a Minnesota resident, who had been crowned Miss Minnesota in the 1958 contest. By January of 1972, they were husband and wife; he decided to end his military career in hopes of starting a family. The couple chose to settle in southern California and start their future. San Diego became their home and in August of 1979, had a baby boy they named Theodore Monroe Nelson, after Suzanne’s father Theodore Bouchard whom Monroe looked up to greatly.
The couple were married for 36 years, when his wife succumbed to a very rare form of blood cancer in January of 2008. His son, Ted, encouraged him to follow his lifelong dream of owning a farm/hunting property in Minnesota. He was able to be near the remaining members of his wife’s family, especially her father, a resident of North Branch that lived to be 101.
He lost a big piece of his life when his wife passed on and was never the same after. Fortunately, he found the great people of Mora who became a new branch of his family tree. He spent his last years driving folks to their destinations while employed by Timber Trails.
He loved to hunt and shoot as well as restore tractors which he would drive in the parade. He was very patriotic and enjoyed Independence Day. Having friends and family over on the 4th of July was his joy. He was a private person, but once you were close to him, he truly opened up. Helping anyone who needed it was one of his greatest attributes.
Dad- Thank you for all you’ve done for me, teaching me everything I needed to know and making me into the man I am today. Although I’m sad to see you go, I am happy that your suffering is over. Tell mom I love her and I look forward to the day we can all be together again. Vaya Con Dios – Ted.
He was preceded in death by his brother, James.
He is survived by sister, Christine Snow, of Kane, Pennsylvania; and son, Ted Nelson, of San Diego, California.
Monroe will be buried at the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego, California. Arrangements were by the Akkerman Ingebrand Funeral Home of Mora. Condolences may be posted at www.aifuneralhome.com