Paul E. Nelson, 81, of Bruce, passed away Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013, at Avera Heart Hospital of South Dakota in Sioux Falls, S.D. Funeral services were held Dec. 23 at Our Savior Evangelical Lutheran Church in Brookings, S.D., with visitation at Rude’s Funeral Home in Brookings.
Paul Edward Nelson was born May 9, 1932, in rural Bruce, S.D., the son of Nels and Rose (Behrend) Nelson. He graduated from Bruce High School in 1950. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy after high school. He was united in marriage to Darlene Layton in August 1954 in Hutchinson, Kan. He dairy farmed and became self-employed in the construction, plumbing and heating business for more than 50 years, retiring from that business due to the loss of his right leg, caused by diabetes, in 2007. He had heart surgery in February 1994 and suffered the loss of his left leg, also caused by diabetes, in March 2013.
He was a member of the Bruce American Legion for more than 50 years. He was also a member of the NRA, Ducks Unlimited and the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, and was a former member of the Estelline Redmen Booster Club and Estelline Commercial Club. He had a love of wildlife, both as an avid hunter and enjoying watching any kind of wildlife. He was a collector of everything from coins to stamps, mounted animals, toy cars, regular-size cars, guns, caps, toy tractors and other farm and commercial machinery, John Green and Terry Redlin paintings, Christmas villages - you name it, he collected it. Paul loved to be around people, and could walk into a public place and start a conversation with a perfect stranger.
Grateful for having shared his life is his wife of 59 years, Darlene, of Bruce; two children, Susan Holida and Brad Nelson, both of Brookings; four grandchildren, one step-grandson, four great-grandchildren, one sister, Lois (Bill) Nelson-Angle, of Volga, S.D., and many nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by his parents, brother Noel, two nieces and a nephew.