Douglas Carey Nelson

Jul 6, 2023

A Celebration of Life for Douglas Nelson, age 74, of Lake Park, was held on Saturday, July 29, 2023 at the Community Center in Lake Park.
Douglas Carey Nelson passed away on July 6, 2023, at the age of 74, after suffering from COPD for several years and other health issues. Doug’s strong spirit and unwavering commitment to his family and country will forever be remembered by those whose lives he touched.
Doug was born on November 3, 1948, in Windom, Minnesota, to Willard and Hazel (Carey) Nelson. After graduating from Windom High School in 1966, Doug enlisted in the Navy to answer the call to serve his country. He displayed immense bravery and compassion as a Navy medic during the Vietnam War, dedicating 13 months to caring for and saving the lives of his fellow servicemen. Shortly after his return home, he met the love of his life on a blind date, and on June 5, 1971, he and Joan were united in marriage.
Following his service in Vietnam, Doug pursued his passion for nursing and obtained his RN license at Rochester Community College. He then continued his service in the Air Force, where he worked as an OR nurse, stationed in various locations including Ohio, Georgia, Misawa Japan, and North Carolina. Doug’s commitment to his duties and his fellow servicemen earned him the respect and admiration of all who had the privilege of working alongside him. After 15 years and 9 months of honorable service, Doug was discharged from the Air Force.
Throughout his life, Doug’s adventurous spirit led him to reside in various places including Illinois, Ohio, Georgia, Japan, North Carolina, Louisiana, Nebraska, and Iowa. In 1995, he settled in Lake Park, Iowa.
Following his military career, Doug pursued civilian employment, bringing his dedication and work ethic to every endeavor. He retired in 2017 from Rosenboom in Spirit Lake.
Doug’s true joy in life came from watching his grandchildren grow up. Living just one block away, he shared in their triumphs and provided unwavering guidance and encouragement. He found comfort and fulfillment in woodworking, especially when building his beloved rolltop desk. Home improvement projects brought him great satisfaction, and he always had a song in his heart, appreciating various genres of music.
Left to cherish his memory is his beloved wife of 52 years, Joan; his son, Troy Nelson of Shakopee, Minnesota; his daughter, Tara (Scott) Christenson of Lake Park, Iowa; three adored grandchildren: Peyton, Miranda, and Hanna. Doug will also be lovingly remembered by his siblings: Bob (Carol) Nelson, Donn (Sue) Nelson, Carla (George) Olsem; his brothers-in-law: Terry Luitjens, Steve Luitjens, Mike (Cathy) Luitjens; his sister-in-law, Janice (Gary) Vacura, as well as extended family members and friends whose lives he touched with his kindness and generosity.
Doug was preceded in death by his parents, Willard and Hazel Nelson; his father and mother-in-law, Harold and Dorothy Luitjens; his sister-in-law, Tracy Luitjens; as well as several aunts, uncles, and cousins. Their memories will forever be treasured alongside Doug’s legacy.
Turner Jenness Funeral Home was in charge of the arrangements.