Len Allen Nelson, 73, died peacefully on Tuesday, September 10, 2019 in Crescent City Skilled Nursing in Crescent City, CA. He was formally from Moorhead, MN.
Len was born August 9, 1946 in Mayville, ND to Donald James and Mavis Lenore (Melhus) Nelson. During his childhood, he lived on his Grandfather’s farm by Mayville, ND, Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, Hillsboro, ND and the family farm by Cummings, ND. Len attended school at Ervin #1 township (a one room school) by Cummings. When his family moved into Mayville, Len’s freshman year, he attended Mayville High School.
Len married Diane Peterson on September 21, 1968 in Mayville, ND. During 22 years of marriage they had three children, Christy Ann, Matthew Robert, and Bethany Ann. During those years they lived in Minneapolis, MN where he worked for Rye Krisp, a farm by Benson, MN working for Cenex, moving back to Mayville where he worked for Mayville State University, owned The Confectionary and volunteered for the Mayville zoo, finally moving to Fargo, ND working for Border States Electric. They divorced in 1991.
Len married Cynthia Johnson in 1991; a daughter, Chelsey Michelle was born to them. Len lived and worked in Fargo, ND, Finley, ND and Rose Lake, MN. He started working for Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) on Maintenance Away as a laborer and Heavy Machine Operator on the Tie Gang and Rail Gang. The marriage ended in divorce.
Len married Linda Kaye (Goodno) Grimley on June 19, 1999 in Gooseberry Park, Moorhead, MN. They made their home in Moorhead while Len continued to work for CPR until he was disabled and eventually retired. He enjoyed volunteering through the Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) for the Moorhead Thrift Store and the VA Hospital. Len loved spending time with family and friends, traveling to lighthouses and museums, rock hunting (especially agates), feeding and watching birds, fishing (especially his annual trip to Canada), spending time at the lake, raising & sharing his large crop of tomatoes, and so much more! He was an avid Packer fan (especially when they played the Vikings). Len loved spending time with the couple’s two little dogs, Ginger and Charlie. Len and Linda bought a home and moved to Crescent City, CA in 2017.
Len’s dementia started 5 years ago, maybe longer (very slowly at first and he hid it well). He was finally officially diagnosed with vascular dementia in February 2019 after extensive testing. In September 2018, he was also, diagnosed with small cell lung cancer. Len went through chemo and radiation - the last week of radiation at St Joes hospital in Eureka, CA, he got aspiration pneumonia. In June when radiation was completed and the pneumonia was done, Len was transported back home for rehab to Crescent City Skilled Nursing. The Friday before his death, his status was moved from rehab to comfort care. He was tired of the fight to live ---- and became very agitated with the memory loss and confusion. We were blessed that he remembered people until he died. Family & friends, he remembered you!
Len is survived by his wife, Linda of Crescent City, CA: three of his children: Matthew Nelson (Karen Bjork), Portland, OR, Bethany Chapman, Moorhead, MN, and Chelsey (Christopher) Odinson, Grand Forks, ND; two stepchildren: James (Kim) Grimley, Moorhead, MN and Desera (Jake) Johnson, Ozark, MO; one brother and three sisters: Larry (Peg) Nelson, Loomis, CA, Donna (Ronnie) Harstad, Cummings, ND, Debbie Lopez, Minneapolis, MN and Laura Miller, Red Wing, MN; five grandchildren: Kassandra Grimley, Fargo, ND, Tucker Grimley, Moorhead, MN, Katarina Erickson, Willis, TX, Allyson Grimley, Moorhead, MN and Annah Chapman, Moorhead, MN; and three great grandchildren: Kayden, Denver, and Cheryden, TX.
Len was preceded in death by his infant daughter, Christy Ann, his parents, Donald Nelson, Mavis (Nelson) Holmberg and stepfather, Willard Holmberg.
Len requested to be cremated - and adamantly did NOT want a funeral or memorial. So following his wishes, Len loved fishing and asked for everyone to go fishing and catch one for him. I know that not all of you like to fish so do something you enjoyed doing with him and remember him. God bless him and keep him in our hearts and memories.
Len’s cremation was handled by Wier’s Mortuary Chapel, Crescent City, CA.
Memorials have been sent to The Evergreen Lodge in Eureka, the Alzheimer’s Association, and the American Cancer Society.