Iris Nelson Saari

Saari, Iris Nelson

Iris Nelson Saari, 88, Green Bay, died Friday, November 9, 2012, at a local nursing home. She was born March 5, 1924 to the late Frank and Anna (Dalpra) Erspamer in Hurley, Wisconsin. On August 28, 1948, she married Roderick Nelson in Ironwood, Michigan; he preceded her in death in 1998. On February 14, 2002, she married Clifford Saari.

Iris was a telephone operator for Illinois Bell and Wisconsin Bell. She raised her family in Wausau and volunteered at St. Mary's and Memorial Nursing Homes for over 40 years where she was recognized as Volunteer of the Year for her dedication and help. She also volunteered at Woodside Nursing Home in Ashwaubenon. Iris and Cliff volunteered weekly at Christa McAuliffe School where they listened to children read. Iris especially liked going to concerts and listening to a wide range of music. Iris enjoyed being with people. She loved to laugh, tell jokes, and be the life of the party. She also liked to ski in the winter.

Iris is survived by her husband, Clifford Saari; three daughters, Janice (Kent) Johnson, Hudson, Wisconsin, Patty (Jim) Sloan, Coral Springs, Florida, Thea (Don)Kaplan, Minneapolis, Minnesota; one son, Michael Nelson, Minneapolis, Minnesota; five grandchildren; one brother, Bernard (Marlene) Erspamer; three sisters, Nancy (Bill) Sybeldon; Frances (Bob) Kossan; and Margie (Vern) Thompson; and a brother-in-law, Sam Alderete.

In addition to her parents and husband, Roderick, she was preceded in death by two sisters, Helen Alderete and Ann Erspamer.

Visitation will take place on Tuesday, November 13, after 9:00 am at Trinity Lutheran Church, 330 South Broadway, where the memorial service will take place at 11:00 am with the Rev. Michael Baucom officiating. Burial will be in Ironwood, Michigan. Online condolences may be expressed at


Published in the Wausau Daily Herald from Nov. 11 to Nov. 12, 2012