Cover photo for James F. Nelson's Obituary
James F. Nelson Profile Photo
1934 James 2021

James F. Nelson

May 15, 1934 — January 29, 2021

James Franklin Nelson died Friday, January 29, 2021, at home surrounded by family and under the care of Hospice. Born on May 15, 1934 , in Fergus Falls, MN, he was the fifth child of Leslie and Gertrude Nelson. He attended Washington High School in Fergus Falls and then enlisted in the Air Force for 4 years where he especially enjoyed serving in Germany. Upon his return, he worked at the Fergus Falls State Hospital as a Psychiatric Technician. There he met Eleanor Johnson, a student nurse, and they were married on September 9, 1961 in Trimont, MN.

Their early years were spent in Amor, MN near Fergus Falls where he worked at the hospital and started a private upholstery business. His children, Bonnie and Kevin, were born there. In 1966 he enrolled in a Technical School program for Electronic Technician and was hired by IBM in Rochester. He worked there for 22 years, living in Pine Island, MN where Bonnie and Kevin graduated from high school.

Taking early retirement in 1990, they moved to Kimble Lake near Pequot Lakes, MN and realized their dream of building a log cabin by the lake, where he was able to employ his carpentry skills to do all the interior work himself. Jim then returned to school, completing a 2-year degree in accounting and worked for 11 years at Grandview Lodge. They also enjoyed several visits to Germany to visit Kevin, his wife Christel, and grandson Neil.

In 2002, Jim and Ellie moved to Harvest, AL to be near Bonnie, her husband Jeff, and granddaughter Anna and continue their retirement in a milder climate. They enjoyed being able to participate in Anna’s many activities and became very active at Messiah Lutheran Church. Throughout his life, Jim had enjoyed wood carving so he joined the North Alabama Woodcarvers Association where he took a class in chip carving. Using this new skill, he created many beautiful and special ornaments, plates, boxes and other items that he shared with friends and family and sold items in the annual Lunches for Learning fundraiser at church. He also won many top prizes at the Annual Wood Carving Show.

Survivors include his wife, Eleanor Nelson of Harvest, AL; daughter Bonnie (Jeff) Flowers of Madison, AL; son Kevin (Christel) Nelson of Irmenach, Germany; Grandchildren: Neil (Mai) Nelson and Anna Flowers; sister Donna Lou (Robert) Hutchings of Barrett, MN; and numerous nieces and nephews.

The family would like to thank Compassus Hospice for the care and support.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that a donation be made in his name to Alzheimer’s research, Messiah Lutheran Church, or your favorite charity.

A Memorial Service will be held Saturday February 6, 2021 at 2:30pm. The service will be held outside.


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James F. Nelson, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Starts at 2:30 pm (Central time)

Messiah Lutheran Church

7740 Hwy 72 W, Madison, AL 35758

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Visits: 31

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree