Mary A. Nelsen, 86, of Williston, and a former longtime resident of McKenzie County, passed away Wednesday evening, July 17, 2013, at the Bethel Lutheran Home in Williston, N.D.
Her funeral was celebrated Saturday morning, July 20, 2013, at 10:30 a.m., at First Lutheran Church in Williston. Rev. Martin Mock officiated and interment followed in the Riverview Cemetery in Williston.
Mary was born Oct. 5, 1926, in rural McKenzie County, N.D., to Axel and Mabel (Helgeson) Wahlstrom. She was the oldest of four children. Mary attended school in Charbonneau until her father passed away in 1943, after which she helped her mother with the farm.
In 1943, she began working for Al and Clare Stepanek, at their farm, caring for their young son, Ron. There she met the love of her life, Harry C. Nelsen, who was Al’s farm hand.
Harry and Mary were united in marriage on Nov. 13, 1945, in Sidney, Mont. They established their independence by purchasing a small farm in Wilbur Township, McKenzie County. They worked together and Mary’s farm background proved to be a valuable tool for them. Mary could milk cows and tend to the cattle, chickens, pigs and whatever needed to be done. You could find mom on a tractor during seeding and summer-fallowing or a combine at harvest.
Mary was a member of St. Olaf Church and later transferred to Rosseland Lutheran Church that was closer to the farm. She was a pianist there. After Rosseland closed, Harry and Mary transferred to First Lutheran Church in Williston. She was Clerk of Wilbur Township and was an active member in the Friendly Neighbors Homemaker’s Club.
Mary worked hard all of her life. She had a great love for her family and was a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She always had a smile and was loved by many who met her.
Mary enjoyed playing the organ for her own entertainment. She was a collector of antiques and had them decorating her home. Harry and Mary enjoyed dancing, traveling, eating out and playing bingo. She enjoyed taking trips to the casinos with her friends and family.
Surviving Mary are her two daughters, Cynthia Lee and her husband, Vernon, of Lonsdale, Minn., and Beverly Forthun and her husband, Dennis, who live on the family farm; five grandchildren, Daniel Lee and his special friend, Beth Melius, of Somerset, Wisc., Debbie Solheid and her husband, Joel, of New Prague, Minn., Dustin Lee and his wife, Jackie, of New Prague, Christopher Forthun and his wife, Kristy, of Williston and Sean Forthun and his wife, Lacey, who live on the family farm; 12 great-grandchildren; her sister, Anna Remsburg of Williston; her brother, John Wahlstrom and his wife, Jackie, of Williston.
Preceding her in death were her husband; parents; sister, Lillian Olson; nephews, Arlen Olson and Mark Wahlstrom; and an infant niece.
Friends may visit www.eversonfh.com to share remembrances of Mary or leave condolences with the family.