Born in Fergus Falls, MN to Carl Elmer Nelson and Ella M (Swenson) Nelson.
From birth Dorothy was raised in church, where she stayed active into her 90s as a devout Christian. Dorothy grew up on farms near Willmar and Spicer, MN. Following high school she worked in a bank for three years before going to Bethel College to earn her B.A. and University of Minnesota to earn a B.S. in Elementary Education.
She enjoyed a teaching career for 24 years. During those years she traveled extensively both in the U.S. and overseas.
1976 brought ‘a career change’ as Dorothy put it. That year she married Pastor Edward Nelson (Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Baptist Conference); moved to Denver, Colorado; as a new bride became a pastor’s wife and devoted partner in ministry; step-mother to five adult children and grandmother to eight grandchildren. Everything changed except her last name.
Ed’s ministry involved traveling to churches within Colorado and four adjoining states; Dorothy joined him in these travels. In 1981 Ed retired from his position as Exec Dir, but in no way retired from ministry. Travel became more extensive, as they served Interim Pastorates in Evergreen, CO; Tacoma, WA; Willmar, MN; Dannebrog, NE; Denver, Broomfield and Thornton, CO
Ed and Dorothy also traveled for church and conference speaking engagements and to several countries to support various missionaries.
Dorothy and Ed were married 33 years before Ed went to ‘be with the Lord’ in the fall of 2009. Dorothy expressed that she was happy for the years of ministry work and travel in their marriage.
As a widow, Dorothy was very content living in Carmel Oaks retirement community in Lakewood, CO. The only travel she still undertook were short summer visits to family in Minn. Her fellowship outlets were with other senior ladies from her home church and in particular a ladies’ Bible study group.
Dorothy was a faithful card and letter writer. This developed into a sizable ministry to her fellow Carmel Oaks residents, family, friends as far back as her teaching days, and dear church friends. She spent days each month at her desk, specially selecting cards and adding personal notes in her beautiful handwriting. This she did for every occasion communicating care and thoughtfulness.
In 2016, due to health crises and signs of dementia Dorothy was moved to be closer to her step-daughters. She was residing in Bonaventure Memory Care Unit until a recent fall resulting in a fractured hip, led to care in Joni Fair Hospice House until her death.
Preceded in death by parents C. Elmer and Ella Nelson, brothers Willard and Ronald, Sister Ethel Watkins, sister-in-law Lorraine and brother-in-law Harold, husband Edward Nelson, and stepson Daniel.
Survived by step-daughters Karen Nelson (Ron Pryor) of New Mexico, Gloria Nelson of Toronto, Ontario, Joy Tanner and Jane Somerville of Colorado; grandchildren Dea (Jules van Thuyne) of Colorado, Shane Sloan of Idaho, Lisa Work (Steve Groble) of Colorado, Marta Sloan of Washington, Matthew Work (Kate) of Colorado, Laura (Matthew Keller) of Texas, Andy Work (Nicole) of Colorado, Daniel Ansell-Nelson of Toronto; great grandchildren Cullen Nordeman, Madison Luster, Brodie Keller, Giada Work, Quinn Keller, Luke Work and Aubriella Work. In Minnesota, survived and very much loved by eight nieces and nephews and their families; and sister-in-law Patricia Nelson.
Dorothy wrote about her life, “I’m so thankful I was brought up in a Christian family and that the Lord has kept me true to Him during all these years. He has really blessed my life.”
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary but what is unseen is eternal.
A memorial gathering date has not been selected. The family anticipates it will not be sooner than summer 2020.