John William Nelson

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John William Nelson, 75 of Elkader, Iowa passed away Thursday, February 2, 2017 at the Elkader Hospital.  Leonard-Grau Funeral Home is handling cremation arrangements. Interment will occur at a later date. 


 John William Nelson was born on March 1, 1941, to Millard Nelson, Sr. and Myrtle (Moon) Nelson in Clermont.  He was baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran faith at West Clermont Lutheran Church. 


During high school John made his mark as an athlete in both football and basketball, and as a thespian active on the speech team and in plays.  He served as president of his junior class and was a member of the National Honor Society.  John graduated from Valley High School, Elgin, in 1959.  


Following high school and a year at college, John joined the United States Air Force. He served his country for three years by learning Chinese at Yale University and then working as a translator stationed in Okinawa during the early 60’s.


When he returned to Iowa he worked in various jobs in Muscatine and in Clermont.

He was married to Lynda during this time.  His career really took off when he moved to Georgia in 1970 to study computers.  He was an early programmer with Data General after completed his schooling.  In the late 70’s his career was cut short when he was diagnosed with Multiple Scleroses.  With the end of his career and his marriage, he moved back to Iowa to be near his family.  During the next season of his life, he worked on his brother’s farm and did woodworking with his dad as his health allowed.  


John was baptized as a Jehovah's Witness on February 12, 1994. He was very active in teaching the Bible to others, and was always very generous with his time.


John is survived by his brother, Millard; sister-in-law, LaVonne; nieces: Ann (Ron) Rowland of Des Moines, Linda (Mic) Martin of Decorah, Laurie (Jim) Biedermann of Decorah; nephews Mark (Denise) Nelson of Clermont, Jim Fossan of Durham, North Carolina; and many of his friends from the Elkader Kingdom Hall.


John was preceded in death by his parents, Millard Sr. and Myrtle Nelson, his sister, Judy Fossan, an infant sister, Josephine, and a nephew, Thomas Fossan.


Funera; services were held Monday, February 6, 2017, at 11 a.m., Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, Elkader,  with Dan Potter officiating.


Visitation was from 10-11 a.m. Monday, February 6, 2017, at Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, Elkader, Iowa


Leonard-Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service is assisting the family with services. Online services may be left with




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