James (Jim) Allan Nelson, of Isle, died peacefully in his sleep on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019, at the Mille Lacs Health Care System in Onamia, after a long battle with declining health and dementia. He was 85 years old.
He was born on Feb. 2, 1934, to Harry and Gladys Nelson of Isle. He attended high school in Isle and enlisted in the Air Force at 17. He was united in marriage to Arlis Hanson in 1957, and they had three children. Early in their marriage the couple lived and worked in Kansas City, Missouri, but moved back to their beloved Minnesota in 1968.
He married a second time to Elaine Sawh in 1975 and she helped raise his two stepchildren in Burnsville. They later divorced.
He was an extremely intelligent man whose skills as a fiberglass pattern boat designer was well sought after throughout his life. He was a complex, inventive and intensely private man. In his later years, he moved back to Isle, started his own business in Wahkon and took care of his mother.
After retiring he enjoyed fishing, hunting, visits from his friends and family and tending his impressive garden.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Harry and Gladys Nelson; his son, David; and his first wife, Arlis.
He is survived by his brother, Roger Nelson and his wife Ingrid (Cookie); his children, Shelly (Bryan) Telander, Jody (Todd) Nelson; second wife, Elaine Watson-McGaffey; and his stepchildren, Rani (Mark)Lenhart, Mark (Taresa)Sawh; nephews, Chad and Matt; grandchildren, Kristy, John, Sheri, Kevin, Erin, Jeff, Haley, Rachael and Joel; great-grandchildren, Khloé, Maya, Hallie, Mason, Reid, Zachary and Jack.
Visitation will be Friday, Sept. 13, 2019 at the Dresser-Methven Funeral Home from 12 -1 p.m. with the service immediately after. Lunch will follow at Kev’s Depot, both locations are in Mora, Minnesota. He will be laid to rest at the Borgholm Cemetery in Bock. Arrangements by Dresser-Methven Funeral and Cremation Services.