Viola A. Nelsen 1916 – 2018
Memorial Services for Viola “Vi” A. Nelsen, of Albert Lea, will be held at 2:00 P.M. on Monday, December 10, at St. John’s Lutheran Home Chapel, 901 Luther Place, Albert Lea. The Reverend Erica Cunningham will officiate. Interment will be in Graceland Cemetery at a later date. The key to living to 102.5 is to keep moving (even when it hurts), ask questions, “keep in touch” with your friends and relatives, don’t eat fried food, eat out of your garden and plant perennial flowers. Vi Nelsen passed away on Sunday, December 2nd, concerned only that she could no longer do anything for others. Born in Bancroft Township, she lived most of her life in Albert Lea, leaving to work in Chicago during WWII. As noted in Cheri Register’s book, “Packinghouse Daughter,” chronicling the history of Albert Lea’s labor movement, Vi was one of eleven women employees who protested in the Woolworth’s store in the 1930s, demanding higher wages and better working conditions. Vi wanted her co-workers treated fairly.Shortly following WWII, Vi returned to Albert Lea and in 1947 married Donald Nelsen in the Little Brown Church in the Vale. Throughout her life she worked hard in her jobs and as a homemaker and was a wonderful cook and gardener. A fastidious housekeeper, even in her last months she wanted to get the dust kitties out from under her couch, hoping to leave with everything in order, not wishing to make work for others. Caring for people was important. For years she attended to the needs of her elderly relatives and friends, always remembering them on birthdays and special occasions. A member of Salem Lutheran Church she sang in the choir, was active in the Lydia Circle, visited congregation ‘shut-ins’ weekly and provided rides to church services.. Vi was preceded in death by Donald, her parents, Fred and Ingeborg Heggelund, and her sisters Helen Heggelund, Alice Meixell and Lilly Leeper, and nephews Dick, Joe and Roger Nelson. For the last fourteen years Vi lived independently at Knutson Place apartments and leaves a legacy of friendship and smiles with residents and staff.