Erwin A. Nelson

November 22, 1927 ~ April 19, 2019 (age 91)


Funeral services for Erwin Andrew Nelson of Roseau, MN will be held on Wednesday, April 24th at 11 AM at Bethel Lutheran Church (Stafford) southwest of Roseau.  Visitation will be on Tuesday from 5-7 PM with a 7:00 prayer service at Helgeson Funeral Home in Roseau; and one hour prior to the service at the church.  Interment will be a the Bethel-Stafford Cemetery.

Erwin Andrew Nelson passed away on April 19, 2019 at his home in Roseau at the age of 91.

Erwin was born on November 22, 1927 in Stafford Township, Roseau, MN to Oscar and Edith (Larson) Nelson. As a young boy, his uncle Helmer Larson started him on a path that led to a lifetime love of trapping and hunting.  Erwin would always smile as he told of the great joy, at about six years old, of pulling up his very first catch on a trapline and knowing he would love it always.  In hunting fox, his favorite time was in the 1960’s when he had his coon hound, Nellie, by his side.  Erwin always said that getting Nellie was ‘the best forty bucks I ever spent’.

In 1954, he married Leona Novacek of Greenbush.  They lived on the ‘home place’ with his parents and later built their own home on the farm.  Here they raised their three daughters and enjoyed a wonderful life together until Leona passed away in 1982. Erwin was blessed with love again and he and Marian Erickson were married 1985.  Together, they continued to care for the farm and enjoyed over 30 years filled with laughter, travels, and watching the Twins and the Wild.  They shared a great love for each other, their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Over the years, Erwin worked as a welder and at Polaris.  While at Polaris, he became the lead mechanic for the racing team.  He traveled often for races and, during his time there, helped drivers win two world championships.  

Though only attending country school through the eighth grade, Erwin truly had an engineer’s mind and was known as an excellent mechanic and welder.  Whether working on a racing machine or on farm machinery, he could fix anything and was always able to figure out a better, more efficient way or even how to create a new device to remedy any troubles.  He often told the story of traveling to Grand Island, Nebraska in 1975 to bring home a New Holland 1500 when they were first launched. He worked hard to always to keep his machinery in great shape and was proud of continuing to use that same New Holland combine for over 35 years, until he was into his eighties and decided it was time to finish doing field work.  

Erwin loved spending time in his workshop and over the years created many beautiful woodworking pieces.  He also enjoyed hobbies of reading hunting and trapping news, watching games on tv, and playing cards or the dice and marble game ‘Superman’.  He had a sense of humor that enjoyed a good laugh at a corny joke or funny story and also had several quirky sayings that his girls and grandsons lovingly referred to as “Erwinisms”. His faith and music were both very important to him, and his life was spent worshiping and being an active part of life at Bethel Lutheran Church of Stafford.  He grew up listening to his mother practice the organ at home and playing for services on Sundays, and to his dad’s family gathering to sing together.  More than anything, Erwin loved his family and the farm. While he will be missed so much by all that loved him, they rejoice that he was able to still be living on the farm when he went Home and that he is now reunited with Leona and the family he has been missing  and that he is singing hymns of praise to Jesus with his mom, dad, sister, and family.

He is survived by his wife, Marian of Roseau; daughters, Sandra (Paul) Torgerson of Inver Grove Heights, MN, Jessica Novacek of Bemidji, MN and Lisa (Eric) Nelson of Wanamingo, MN; step-daughters, Jody (Fred) Smith of Minneapolis, Jane (Joel) Tradup of Minneapolis, Joan (Desi) Sagedahl of Bemidji and Jolene Anderson of Roseau; step-son, Jack Johnson of Bemidji; grandchildren, Andrew (Kim), Jacob (Emily), Sam, Isaac, Luke (Amy), John, Derek, Maria (Jeff), Rachel (Jed), Karin (Isaiah), Kate (Bob), Noelle, Amanda (Aaron), Tony (Shannon), Morgan, Tara, Hannah and Josh; uncle, Clayton Erickson; sisters-in-law, Ida, Amelia, Darlene, and Glendora Novacek; many cousins, nieces, nephews and his faithful dog, Ben.   He was preceded in death by his parents; infant twin brother; sister, Christine Carlson; wife, Leona Nelson; infant daughter, Barbara Mary; and grandson, Kyle Sagedahl.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Erwin A. Nelson, please visit our floral store.


April 23, 2019

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Helgeson Funeral Home
1207 3rd St NE
Roseau, MN 56751

Funeral Service
April 24, 2019

11:00 AM
Bethel-Stafford Lutheran Church
37484 250th St
Roseau, MN 56751

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