Kenneth Wayne Nelson
Sun Prairie, WI – Kenneth Wayne Nelson, 65 (4/25/47 – 5/4/12)
Kenneth Wayne Nelson passed away on May 4, 2012 after a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was born to Lucian Ervin Nelson and Dovie Marie (Craig) Nelson on April 25, 1947 in McKenzie, TN but moved to Niles, MI when he was 4 months old. He was the oldest of 7 children.
Ken graduated with honors from every school he attended. He won the 4-year Simplicity Pattern Company Scholarship and graduated from Niles High School (1965). He earned his Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Michigan (1969) and his Masters in Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame (1987).
Ken loved problem-solving and had an unparalleled work ethic. He had a successful career specializing in off-highway vehicles. He worked for Clark Equipment in Buchanan, MI for 19 years. He also worked for Rockwell, Case/CNH, TUG, Husqvarna, and Lift Technologies. He last worked for Columbia Par Car, a division of Seats, Incorporated in Reedsburg, WI.
In 1968 Ken married Jamie Rainelle Gillentine. They have three children. He enjoyed chess, bridge, pinochle, euchre, racquetball, tennis and boating. He most enjoyed family vacations, including cruises and month-long trips to Europe when he worked near Paris.
Ken played on, and managed, several fast pitch softball teams at Plym Park in Niles, MI. He enjoyed having his brother Rick as a teammate. Their teams played in tournaments all over the Midwest. Long-time Niles umpire Ray Parker persuaded both Ken and Rick to become fast pitch umpires which they did for a few years.
Ken is survived by his mother, Dovie Marie Nelson, brothers Rick (Debbie), Greg and Jim and sisters Debbie (Bob) Hames and Judy (Glen) Peck, wife, Jamie (Gillentine) Nelson, daughter Amanda (Jason) Dean, sons Brandon and Beau, grandson Evan Michael Dean and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
He was preceded in death by his father Lucian Nelson and brother Mitchell who both succumbed to lung cancer.
The family is grateful to the many family members, friends and coworkers that provided love and support. We are blessed. And a special thank you to the angels at Agrace HospiceCare for taking such good care of Ken during his last weeks.
A memorial service will be held in Niles, MI this summer with his family and friends.