Wayne E. Nelson, 79 of Joy, died Sunday, December 17, 2006 at the Mercer County Nursing Home, Aledo. Memorial Services will be held Saturday, January 6, 2007 at 11:00 a.m. with visitation from 10 to 11 a.m. at College Avenue Presbyterian Church, Aledo. A luncheon will follow the services at the church. In lieu of flowers a memorial has been established. Speer Funeral Home is assisting the family.
Wayne was born January 26, 1927 at home in Eliza Township, Mercer County, Illinois to Virgil Aaron & Leota Vance Kiddoo Nelson. In 1949 he graduated from Augustana College, Rock Island, with a bachelor’s degree of Music Education. While in college he was a member of the prestigious Augustana Choir and he played violin in the Augustana Symphony. During his college years he also directed the choir at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Davenport.
Wayne was a US Navy Veteran of World War II. During the Korean War he served with the US Army for two years. From 1949 to 1951 he taught at Center School in Eliza Township. Wayne also taught at Northside Jr. High School in Aledo from 1954-1955.
On May 12, 1951 he married Marilyn Sturdivant in Lakewood, Ohio. They lived at the home place on the family farm their entire married life. Wayne farmed for over 50 years with his brother, Forbes Nelson.
In April 1976, Wayne and his family entertained King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden during the royal visit to the United States. In 1977, while traveling in Europe, Wayne and Marilyn had a private audience with the King at his palace in Stockholm.
One of Wayne’s great loves was traveling the world. Wayne and Marilyn traveled to Egypt, Africa, India, Nepal, Iraq and Iran. They also traveled extensively throughout Europe. In 1980 they journeyed all the way around the world on an “open” airline ticket. On their second trip to Russia in December, 1982 they took the train across Siberia. In January 2002 they went on a cruise around the entire continent of South America. They were on the last trans-Atlantic voyage of the Queen Elizabeth 2 in May 2002 to the British Isles and France. Their last cruise together was on the Queen Mary in March 2005.
Wayne’s hobbies and interests included playing the piano and singing, reading, studying local history, collecting antiques, painting, attending concerts and plays, and Arabian horses.
Survivors include his wife of 55 years, Marilyn of Joy; his daughter, Lorine Etheridge (Michael) of Aledo; his son Chris Nelson (Judy) of Ann Arbor, MI: his grandsons, Alex Etheridge, of Aledo and Tim, Steven, Peter, and Andrew Nelson of Ann Arbor, MI; and his sister, Lois Johnson of Lodi, CA. He was preceded in death by his parents, an infant grandson, one sister, Floy Marie Plunkett, and three brothers, Ivon, Macy and Forbes Nelson.