In Memory Of

Gustav C. Nelson

Des Moines, Iowa

1927 - 2011 (Age 84)


Gustav C. Nelson DES MOINES, Iowa The Rev. Dr. Gustav C. Nelson, 84, died on Saturday, Dec. 10, at Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines, after a very brief illness. A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 14, at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 4114 Allison Ave. in Des Moines, with a reception following the service. Gus was born May 19, 1927, in Milan, Minn., the son of Carl and Mabel Nelson. He served in the U.S. Navy during WWII, and was graduated with a BA degree from Wheaton College,Ill. He earned a master of divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary and a PhD from Union Theological Seminary, New York. Gus served as the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Beloit, Wisc., from 1961-74, after which he and his family moved to Des Moines. Gus was executive presbyter for the Des Moines Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for 19 years. He served on the boards of Calvin Community and Eyerly-Ball, authored numerous magazine articles and had several op-ed pieces published by The Des Moines Register. His book, "Service is the Point," was published in 2000 by Abingdon Press. After his retirement, Gus served as interim pastor for many area Presbyterian churches, where his work was particularly focused on encouraging the church to engage more effectively in the work and family lives of church members. Gus' career in the ministry reflected his tremendous energy, creativity, intellectual openness, and commitment to facilitating the success of fellow pastors. He believed deeply in the importance of equal opportunity for all persons. Gus was a passionate sports fan, enjoyed travel, and was a devoted husband, father and grandfather. He is survived by Charlotte Bowers Nelson, his wife of 54 years; daughter Ruth (Brian) Bendig and sons, David (Michelle) Nelson and Tom Nelson; and grandchildren, Krystal, Joshua, Jack, Cullan, Charlotte, Christopher and Caroline. The family will greet friends from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 13, at Iles Funeral Homes-Westover Chapel. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to a charity of your choice. Iles Funeral Homes-Westover Chapel in Des Moines, Iowa is handling arrangements. This obituary was originally published in the Bristol Herald Courier.