ARLENE MARY NELSON, age 85, of Waseca, passed away on Monday, October 9, 2023, at Lakeshore Inn Nursing Home, in Waseca.
She was born on January 3, 1938, in Waseca, a daughter of the late Clarence and Helen (Anderson) Rudolph. She was raised on a farm near Otisco though she preferred to remain indoors as child, close to her mother. She attended District 46 grade school in a one-room schoolhouse. Arlene graduated from Waseca Central High School in 1955 and Mankato Commercial College. She worked in Rochester as a medical secretary prior to her marriage.
On September 29, 1957, she married her high-school sweetheart, Lowell Nelson, at Trinity Lutheran Church of Wilton. They recently celebrated their 66th anniversary.
Arlene was diagnosed with polio at age 11. While there were days she struggled, she would never let on that she was frustrated, hurting or in pain and never allowed it to hold her down. In fact, it led to a prized memory. At Christmastime, she was hospitalized at St. Mary’s in Rochester. At the same time, Gene Autry was in town and upon finding a young girl in the hospital on Christmas with the surname Rudolph, he went to her room and sang “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” to her.
Arlene was a very kind and compassionate person. She was always concerned about the interests of other people and routinely put them ahead of her own. Nonetheless, she was highly independent and knew her own mind.
As a volunteer, she made calls to schedule donors for American Red Cross blood drives and donated blood as often as she could.
She was a wonderful and avid seamstress. She enjoyed reading, doing crossword puzzles, watching Jeopardy, hosting gatherings, and cooking for friends and family. She loved country music and Elvis Presley. Above all, she loved having her family together. She was the glue holding together a tight-knit family. Arlene was a longtime member of Grace Lutheran Church in Waseca.
She is survived by her husband, Lowell Nelson of Waseca; daughters, Vicki (James) Montgomery of Thurmont, Maryland, Tammy (Kevin Featherly) Nelson of Bloomington, and Debra (Cris Beal) Nelson of Andover; grandchildren, Michael (Mary Beth) Montgomery of Frederick, Maryland, and Nathan Featherly of Bloomington; great-grandson, Maxwell Montgomery; sister, Janet Rudolph of Waseca; sister-in-law, Lois Bartz of Hermosa Beach, California; and niece, Shari (Chet Taylor) Bartz of Manhattan Beach, California. She is preceded in death by her parents, and grandson, Zachary Featherly.
Memorial Service will be held at 11:00 AM on Friday, October 27, 2023 at the Third Street Chapel of Dennis-Steffel-Omtvedt Funeral and Cremation Service in Waseca. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service at the funeral home. Interment will follow at Woodville Cemetery in Waseca. Dennis-Steffel-Omtvedt Funeral and Cremation Service is handling the arrangements.