Robert Leslie Nelson, 61, of rural Sebeka, passed away unexpectedly at his home southwest of Sebeka on Sunday, April 19, 2009.
He was born Oct. 24, 1947, at the Wesley Hospital in Wadena to Wilbert and Janetta (Schmitz) Nelson. He attended the Sebeka Public Schools, graduating with the class of 1966. That night, just after his high school graduation, he left for San Diego, Calif., to begin his military training. He served his country in the Navy until his honorable discharge in 1970. He married Dorothy Knaub on May 4, 1968, and the couple made their home in Spokane, Wash., for two years. While in Spokane, he worked as a postal carrier and did some carpentry work on the side. In 1974, they moved to Minneapolis, where he worked for Northwest Airlines for five years. He remained in Minnesota to be closer to his family while Dorothy had the need to return to Washington. Their union ended amicably. In 1982, he met Lynette Burgau with whom he found companionship for the next 25 years. The couple made their home in Circle Pines, Minn., where he worked as a truck driver and also did construction. In 2008, he and Lynette went their separate ways. He began spending winters in Carlsbad, N.M., with his good friend, Arnold Granroth. Each summer he returned to his home near Sebeka. He had returned to Minnesota just weeks prior to his untimely death. He enjoyed playing guitar with Ron and Butch Schwartz. Each year he looked forward to the fishing derby at Uncle Tom's cabin. But most of all he loved the moments he spent with his beloved nieces.
Funeral services were held Friday, April 24, at the Sebeka United Methodist Church with the Rev. Loren Ferch officiating. The honorary casketbearers were his nieces, Adrienne Nelson, Whitney Nelson and the late Jessica Nelson; and his friends, Steve Limanen, Stan Limanen, Ron Hotakainen, Dan Beach, Bob Dalano and Bob Mathews. Interment will be made in the Hay Creek Cemetery in the Nelson family plot. Military honors were provided by the American Legion Post 456 of Sebeka. The Cardini-Pearson Funeral Home serving Sebeka and Menahga was in charge of the arrangements. To leave online condolences, visit www.cardinipearson.com.
Survivors include his brother, Richard "Sharkey" (Jaccie) Nelson of Sebeka; two nieces; Lynette Burgau, of Circle Pines, Minn.; Dorothy Knaub of Spokane, Wash.; as well as numerous other relatives and many friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Ronald; and one niece.