SUN PRAIRIE — Gerald Francis Nelson, age 81, of Sun Prairie, WI, passed away Feb. 27, 2020 at his home in Sun Prairie. He was born March 6, 1938 in Portsmouth, VA to Julius and Ruby Jean (Rosholt) Nelson. Gerry was a 1956 graduate of Central High School in Crookston, MN and spent four years in the Navy (1957-1960). After leaving the Navy, he was united in marriage to Donna (Chappuis) on April 25, 1964. They have two sons, Jeff of Austin, TX: Keith of Tomah, WI and one daughter, Teresa of Kennesaw, GA, seven grandsons, one granddaughter, one great grandson and three great granddaughters. He attended college at UND in North Dakota and UW Madison, WI earning a master’s degree in social work and Psychology. He began his Social Work career in Sandstone, MN, working at the Stillwater Prison, before eventually moving back to Crookston to work at Sunny Rest Treatment Center. In 1974 Gerry moved his family to Tomah, WI to pursue his career in Social Work at the Tomah Veterans Hospital, from which he retired. After his retirement, Gerry and Donna moved to Sun Prairie, WI, where Donna continued to work at the BX at Truax Air Force base until her retirement in 2008. While living in Tomah, Gerry was very active in the Lions Club and Toastmasters. He enjoyed playing cards, cribbage and league horseshoes, but his real passion was billiards. Gerry was always a top player in both the pool leagues in Tomah and Sun Prairie. Even after Gerry lost sight in one of his eyes, he could still shoot pool better than most. Gerry was also a sports fan of the Minnesota Vikings, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Wisconsin Badgers. He was a devoted and loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
Gerry is survived by his loving wife Donna; sons Jeffrey (Teresa) and Keith (Julie); daughter Teresa (Christopher) Parkinson; grandsons Jay (Ashlee), Andy (Mariel), Marc (Melanie), Vance Scarborough, Gerry, Charlie and Jack Parkinson, granddaughter Amanda (Kevin) Miller; great grandson Asher; great granddaughters Maddie, Vivian, and Nora; half-sister Donna Lynn Hunt; step-sister JoAnn Dunbar, sister-in-laws Doreen Langlois and Debbie Berggren; brother-in-law Dennis Chappuis and many other relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Julius Nelson and Ruby Jean Boeckermann; stepmother Leola Nelson; two brothers, Douglas and Phillip Nelson; sister Celeste Nelson; father-in-law Leonard Chappuis; mother-in-law Grace Chappuis; sister-in-laws Diane Hoff and Darlene Paulson and brother-in-law Duane Chappuis.