Cover photo for Julia "Jeanne" Nelson's Obituary
1929 Julia 2024

Julia "Jeanne" Nelson

October 30, 1929 — April 26, 2024

Winona, MN, formerly of Bricelyn, MN

Julia Jeanne (McAllister) Nelson made her final journey to her eternal home on April 26, 2024, her daughter Nancy and Heather (Hospice RN) were at her side. With the loving care of Sugarloaf Senior Living staff and Winona Health Hospice, she was at peace, comfortable and entered heaven with grace and dignity.


Jeanne was born October 30, 1929, to Samuel and Viola McAllister, the youngest of six children. It was the start of the great depression and a difficult time, but she was the joy to her parents and siblings. Jeanne was baptized and confirmed at the Farragut Congregation Church.


As a child, she loved playing with kittens on the farm, had a dog named Spot and enjoyed time in the kitchen with her mom and the outdoors with her dad. Being the youngest, she received lots of attention from her 3 brothers and 2 sisters who loved and adored her. During Jeanne’s youth she was very involved in 4-H, serving as president of the club; baking and crafting were her favorites which she learned to love from her mother. It is not surprising Jeanne won a blue ribbon in the ‘good grooming contest’ at the Iowa State Convention. Throughout the years, Jeanne enjoyed painting, flowers, birds, and her favorite dessert ice cream.


Jeanne graduated from Farragut High School in 1947. She played the clarinet in the high school band, was Senior class president and Co-Valedictorian of her class. In the fall of 1947, Jeanne chose to attend Iowa State University in Ames, IA. During her first year in college, the Collegiate Presbyterian Church provided a meal and party for the students in the church basement. Jeanne and her roommate attended one evening and as two men walked through the doors of the church, Jeanne replied to her friend, “I’ll take the tall one!” The tall one happened to be LeRoy Nelson who was attending Iowa State for Veterinary Medicine. One year later, Roy proposed to Jeanne on January 21, 1949. Doc Nelson (as he was known) moved to Bricelyn in the fall of 1949 and started his veterinary career. The story is…on an early call to the Merle Shirk farm,

8-year-old daughter Kathy ran out to the barn to meet the new, young veterinarian that just moved to Bricelyn. Kathy vividly remembered Doc telling her dad that he was going to marry the most beautiful girl in the world, and he was bringing her to Bricelyn to live.  And that he did! Kathy shared this story with us at his funeral in 2011. It was heart-warming.


Roy and Jeanne were married on January 1, 1950, at the Farragut Congregation Church. Jeanne was 20 years old, and Roy was 23. They started their life together living on the south end of main street in a log cabin house in Bricelyn, that also doubled as Doc Nelson’s Veterinary Office. In 1952 they built a home in Bricelyn where they lived and raised their family together for the next 58 years. They had 3 children, Julia Beth, Paul Robert, and Nancy Viola. Jeanne was a stay-at-home mom and helped in the veterinary office until 1970 when she decided to go back to school and attend Mankato State College, graduating in 1972 with a degree in Home Economics and Child Development.


In 1972, Jeanne was hired as the Director/Instructor of the Childcare Occupations Program and the Little People’s Center at South Central Vocational School in Blue Earth. Jeanne created one of the first vocational programs and curriculum in the nation for high school students in Childcare Occupations, along with setting up a new childcare center (Little People’s Center) for children 3-5 years old. Jeanne grew and enhanced the curriculum over 12 years, teaching childcare skills to over 140 students and providing daycare and educational development for more than 500 children. Jeanne retired in 1984.


As a family, the Nelson’s attended Bricelyn Lutheran Church every Sunday; and after church, during the summer months, they spent their time at Bass Lake with their friends. Roy had a boat and taught many Bricelyn youth and adults to water ski. In the winter months, the family went to the Kee Theatre in Kiester to see many Walt Disney movies. Over 40 years the family enjoyed a summer vacation UP North with family and friends; the Vee’s, Flo’s, Thompson’s, and Leland’s. What Jeanne’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren remember most is Grandma’s ice cream buckets full of kringla and cookies for all to enjoy. In the evening, Grandma Jeanne treated everyone to ice cream cones at the lodge. Grandpa Roy would spend a week digging up potatoes and garden-fresh vegetables so each meal up north, along with fresh fish - was a meal ‘fit for a king’!


During their retirement years, Jeanne and Roy spent the winter months at the Good Life Resort in Mesa, AZ, where many friendships were made and indeed enjoyed the ‘good life’!

Roy was a Type 1 diabetic, which meant Jeanne cooked low fat and no sugar meals – 3 meals a day for 58 years. Roy always said the reason he lived so long was because of his gene…his wife Jeanne! Prior to Roy going into a nursing home, they had only spent 5 nights apart.


Jeanne became a member of Bricelyn Lutheran Church in 1950; she was President of the Women’s Church Auxiliary and very active in the church and its activities. Jeanne had a strong faith and stated over and over “I am not afraid of dying”. When her end was near, Jeanne knew she was going to heaven to see Jesus and said, ”that is nice”, and then stated “but, I will miss you”. We will miss you too mom, grandma, and great-grandma.


Jeanne is survived by her 3 children, Julia Sabin (Bill Taylor) of Fort Collins, CO, Paul (Mary) Nelson of Shelbyville, KY, and Nancy (Dave) Dornfeld of Winona, MN; 6 grandchildren and

5 great-granddaughters, Jammie (Carrie) Sabin, Maddie, Alicia, & Cassie, Rob (Macayla) Sabin, Scarlett & River, Julia (Nate) Letchenberg, Laura (Nate) Randall, Jacob Dornfeld, Rena (Nic) Wiseman and a great-grandson on the way.


Jeanne was preceded in death by her husband Roy in 2011, her parents and siblings, Beth (Russell) Parrish, Duane (Alice) McAllister, Marjorie (Virgil) Perry, Merlin (Sylvia) McAllister, Keith (Louise) McAllister, her in-laws, Carl & Francis Nelson, Lorraine (Bert) Thulin, Carleton (Beth) Nelson, Dorothy (Alvin) Nelson, Wayne (Dukey) Nelson, Rona (Arnold) Tipka. She is the last of these two-family generations.


A very special thank you to the Sugarloaf Senior Living staff for the ‘excellent and loving’ care they gave to our mother the past five years. She was ‘Queen Jeanne’ to them as she liked to dress nicely everyday - make-up on, blush, lipstick, along with earrings and a necklace. And when she entered heaven’s gates, they had her looking like a queen. We are eternally grateful.


Funeral services will be held at Bricelyn Lutheran Church (404 N Secor Street) on Saturday, May 4, 2024, at 11:00 am with visitation one hour prior at 10:00 am. Pall bearers will be her six grandchildren, and honorary pall bearer Signe Flo, her longtime and dear friend for more than 70 years.


In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the Bricelyn Lutheran Church, PO Box 98, Bricelyn, Bricelyn Fire & Ambulance Relief Fund, PO Box 296, Bricelyn, and Grace Presbyterian Church, 222 Broadway, Winona, MN, or donor’s choice.


Love endures all things, believes all things, hopes all things, love never fails.

Thank you, mom, for your faith in God, sacrifices, wisdom, generosity, and support. We have indeed been blessed. Through triumphs and tears, you have always been there for us and our children. We thank you for all the special family memories and your unending love for Dad and each of us.

Our love, Julie, Paul and Nancy

To view a live stream of the funeral service, please use the following account:


Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, May 4, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

Bricelyn Lutheran Church

404 N Secor St, Bricelyn, MN 56014

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

Funeral Service

Saturday, May 4, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

Bricelyn Lutheran Church

404 N Secor St, Bricelyn, MN 56014

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


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