Don Nelson

Don Nelson, 66, Minot, passed away Tuesday, April 16, 2013, in his home in Minot.

Don L. Nelson was born May 1, 1946, in Minot, to Mark and Adair (Olson) Nelson. He was the youngest of four, growing up with two older brothers, Ron and Bob, and his sister, Diane. Don attended Model High School and graduated from Minot State Teachers College with a degree in business education.

Immediately upon his college graduation, he was drafted into the Army and served during the Vietnam War. He attended drill sergeant school and graduated at the top of his class. He was promoted to SGT-E5 after only five months in the service which was quite an accomplishment.

Aside from his two years in Tacoma, Wash., in the military, Don lived his entire life in Minot. After returning from Tacoma, he and his brothers purchased Nelson Motors from their dad and were in business for several years. He then went on to Fisher Motors, where he sold cars for a couple of years and spent 12 years as the new car manager.

Don married Zona Soine on June 30, 1967, in Minot, and they were married for 45 years, raising a daughter, Kimberly, and a son, Brad, and having several other family members of the four-legged variety. Anyone who knows Don knows how much he loved animals, and in particular dogs. He had a dog by his side as a young boy until he just recently lost his beloved rescue golden retriever Cody. Don was an active advocate for the Souris Valley Animal Shelter and served on the board until he was no longer able to because of his ALS. However, that didn’t stop him from his ongoing fundraising and monthly supply runs for the animals.

Aside from his love for his family and dogs, his true passion was his cabin at Lake Metigoshe. Growing up, we used to call him Mr. Green Jeans because he was always in the yard and his love for it showed. He loved the countless compliments that he kept his lake place looking like a resort.

Another passion was his woodworking. Anyone who visited one of his garages or his shop was in awe of how neat and organized he kept his space. He would spend every winter working on new projects for the house and the lake (tables, planters, chairs, benches, built-in shelves, you name it) and couldn’t wait to install them and enjoy his new creations the following summer. Mom and I were great for tearing out pictures in magazines and asking if he could build it and he never disappointed us!! Those pieces of furniture will always be treasured!

It is a rare family that has a bond as close as Don had with his brothers and sister. That bond has given us a lifetime of fun and memories with family at Lake Metigoshe. We have all been so fortunate to spend every summer at the lake with parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and more dogs than you can count! Don would start his morning at the lake on the side deck with a cup of coffee and then wouldn’t sit down again until the sun went down. There were countless times he would be told to stop and take a break and eat something. When he was in project mode you didn’t want to interrupt him! His hard work was evident in the countless remodels, additions, decks, projects and constant improvement of the lake cabin. He did learn to slow down a little a few years ago when mom and dad purchased a new pontoon and learned to enjoy time on the lake relaxing. It just won’t be the same up there without dad keeping the place meticulous.

We can’t thank you enough for what you and mom have given us through our time at the lake.

Don was an amazing husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend. He was loved by many and will be missed by all. He was given an unfair curve ball with his ALS diagnosis but he handled his disease with grace and dignity. His resilience and love of life kept him going strong for many years after losing his ability to walk, and he has been an inspiration to all of us to remember what really matters in life; the relationships you have with family and friends.

His loving family includes: wife, Zona, Minot; daughter, Kimberly (Bruce) Homeniuk, of Austin, Texas; son, Brad (Christine) Nelson, Minot; grandchildren, Zoe, Mac and Jager Homeniuk, Lauren and Beckett Nelson; brothers, Ron (Beverly) Nelson, Bob (Judy) Nelson; nephews, Mark (Patty) Butz, PJ (Karla) Butz, Brian (Christy) Nelson, nieces, Jani (Lee) Ehrsman, Joni (Jim) Moen, Nikki (Dave) Weimiller, Shelly (Dave) Stroud and Lori (Jason) Herter.

Don was preceded in death by his parents, Mark and Adair Nelson, and his sister, Diane Butz.

A Celebration of Life for family and friends: Will take place Friday, April 19, at the Sleep Inn & Suites beginning at 7 p.m.

Memorials: The family respectfully asks that all memorials be given to the Souris Valley Animal Shelter.

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