George Marvin Nelson, age 94, died May 12, 2012 at St. Vincent's in Green Bay following neck surgery complications after falling at his home in Sturgeon Bay on May 9.
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He was born on a farm October 31, 1917 in Morrison IL, the son of Leon Wilfred Nelson and Eva (Fadden) Nelson.
He played football for the University of Illinois, where he was a member of the Alpha Kappa Pi fraternity. He graduated in 1941 with a business degree and a ROTC commission. There he met Jean Olander, his wife of 69 years, who he married in 1942. During World War II, he served in the Army's Fourth Calvary in the U.S., France and Germany, rising to the rank of Major. He was awarded the Bronze star and the French Croix de Guerre. After the War, he moved his family to Iowa and worked for Standard Oil and General Motors Chevrolet division before opening automobile dealerships in Chicago. He moved to Sturgeon Bay in 1971 where he partnered with Jean's cousin, Bill Boettcher in the Chevrolet-Oldsmobile-Cadillac dealership.
He was a strong believer in giving back to the community. He served as president of University of Illinois School of Commerce Alumni Association, the Door County Republican Party, as well as the Elks and Rotary Clubs of Sturgeon Bay. He was a trustee for the Highland Park IL Presbyterian Church, and Hope Church in Sturgeon Bay. He enjoyed discussions of politics and current events and was known for listening more than he spoke. He loved playing bridge and golf, particularly the annual Rotary scramble, which was named in his honor. He thought happiness was found in having a worthwhile goal and making progress towards it, and believed that if you looked for the good in anyone, you would find it. He and Jean traveled extensively; their favorite trips included an around-the-world journey and their last trip, to Africa. In their younger years they packed their 3 children into the station wagon and made sure they saw the USA. Sundays with their Packer-watching-friends were more fun when his team, the Bears, were playing. At his Pine Crest home during the last 5 years he instituted discussion groups, Bridge games, enjoyed Fridays' happy hours, and began honoring his neighbors' 99 and 100 year birthdays with champagne toasts.
He is survived by his daughters, Jonlee Peterson; Leslee (Craig Werner) of Madison; son, Mark (Peggy) Nelson; grand-children, Jesse and Jayme Nelson; Riah and Kaylee Werner. He was predeceased by his wife, Jean in 2011, his brother, L. Willard, his parents, and son-in-law, Robert E. Peterson.
A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday, June 3rd, 2012 at Hope Church, 141 So. 12th Ave, Sturgeon Bay, WI, 54235. Memorials to Hope Church are welcome.
Huehns Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements. Sign online guest book and offer condolences at www.huehnsfuneralhome.com .
Published in Door County Advocate from May 16 to May 19, 2012