Palmer Nelson, 90, of Dickinson and formerly of Grassy Butte, passed away on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, at Hill Top Home of Comfort in Killdeer, N.D. His humor and wit will be missed by all.
Palmer, the oldest child of Tobias and Agnes (Carlson) Nelson, was born Oct. 2, 1925, in Mobridge, S.D.
He attended Grant Elementary School and Glenham High School. When his father unexpectedly passed away, Palmer, age 16, stepped into a leadership role as the provider and caregiver for the family. He quickly became the family’s father figure, raising his younger brothers and sister. Palmer managed the family farm, ensuring that they were provided for. For the remainder of his life he was cherished as a father and grandfather.
After World War II, Palmer, age 22, stepped up to serve his country and joined the Navy where he became a leader among the younger Navy sailors. Palmer continued his education while in the Navy and was recognized for his high intelligence and mechanical skills.
In 1958, Palmer and his mother purchased a beautiful ranch along the Little Missouri River in the Badlands, near Grassy Butte, N.D., and moved into a log cabin near the river. He later built a modern house up on a bluff that remained the family home.
On Nov. 8, 1975, Palmer married Ethel (Krogh) VanHorn, a neighbor and long-time friend. He and Ethel attended church at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Dickinson. He and Ethel were involved in events connected to Dickinson State University.
Palmer was known as a highly intelligent life-long-learner and was well-versed on a wide array of topics. He had a fantastic sense of mechanical skills and enjoyed puttering in his garage, keeping many a vehicle running well beyond its time. Palmer was a parade marshal for homecoming at Dickinson State to honor his commitment about furthering the education of young people.
Palmer was also involved in the establishment of the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame in Medora, N.D. After Ethel’s death in 2003, Palmer moved to Dickinson after heart surgery and enjoyed a companionship with Martha Monkee. They enjoyed gathering with friends, attending Scandinavian festivals, and going to the ELKs club.
Palmer is survived by his step-son, Jim VanHorn; sister, Anna Sogge of Spearfish, S.D.; brother, Eldon “Toby” Nelson of Sturgis, S.D.; sister-in-law, Twyla Nelson of Mitchell, S.D.; sister-in-law, Kaye Nelson, of Grassy Butte, N.D.; and numerous nieces and nephews, many of whom considered him to be a second father.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Ethel; his friend, Martha; and his brothers, Tillman and Alvin.
Funeral Services for Palmer Nelson, were at 10 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016, at the St. John Lutheran Church in Dickinson. Pastor Lisa Lewton officiated. Burial followed in the Dickinson Cemetery with Military Rites by the Dickinson Honor Guard.
A Prayer Service was held at 7 p.m., Monday, Jan. 11, 2016, at Stevenson Funeral Home in Dickinson. Visitation was on Monday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., at Stevenson Funeral Home, and continued on Tuesday one hour prior to the service at St. John Lutheran Church.
The family requests that memorials be sent to Badlands Ministry, P.O. Box 305, Medora, N.D. 58645.
Remembrances and condolences may be shared with the family at www.stevensonfuneralhome.com.