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Dr. Wallace Nelson

Dr. Wallace Nelson, Willmar, MN and previously of Lamberton, MN died peacefully on Dec 14 at the age of 89. Wally was a retired professor emeritus of the University of Minnesota and the founding Superintendent of the SW Experiment Station (Southwest Research and Outreach Center). He was born to Elmer and Mabel Nelson on Feb 17, 1928, in rural Walnut Grove, MN. Following high school graduation, he enrolled in the US Navy in May 1945, serving in Singapore on the Admiral's fleet. Wally then enrolled at the U of M St Paul campus and completed his bachelor and doctorate work in soil science. He married Arlene Michelson of Buffalo Lake, the love of his life, in June 1949. Wally became a professor with the U of M, and after 6 years at the Duluth experiment station was chosen at 32 years old, to start up the new experiment station in Lamberton. Over the next 34 years, he built it into one of the premier agricultural research facilities in the nation. Wally was an authoritative voice for agriculture and was committed to making sure that university faculty understood farmers' real problems and that research focused on solving them.
Wally devoted himself to the advancement of agriculture in Minnesota for over 40 years. He was an author/coauthor on more than 50 scientific papers, a fellow of the American Society of Agronomy, a Distinguished Alumni of the U of M, outstanding alumni of the U of M College of Agriculture and the 2011 recipient of the Siehl Prize for knowledge, the University's highest award for agriculture. In 2014, the U of M also endowed the "Wally Nelson Crop Production Faculty Chair". He was appointed to the board of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, a board member of North Star Insurance Company and numerous other positions and awards.
He is survived by his loving wife Arlene, married for over 68 years, son Thomas and wife Linda, daughter Kathy Hund and husband Fred, grandchildren Mark (Nicole) Nelson, Paul (Angie) Nelson, Megan (Charles) Hieb, John (Anna) Nelson, Rachel Hammarberg, Amanda (Ryan) Hund-Terrien , and Sarah (Ryan) Hund- Hagemeyer and 4 great grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister Shirley (Curtis) Schafer and brother Gary (Mona) Nelson. He will be missed by all who knew and loved him. Services will be held at Vinje Lutheran Church, Willmar MN on Tuesday Dec 19 at 11:00 am. Visitation will be at 9:30 am at the church. Interment will be at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.

Cemetery Details

Ft. Snelling National Cemetery
7601 34th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN, 55450-1199



DEC 19. 09:30 AM - 11:00 AM

Vinje Lutheran Church

1101 Willmar Avenue SW

Willmar, MN, US, 56201



DEC 19. 11:00 AM

Vinje Lutheran Church

1101 Willmar Avenue SW

Willmar, MN, US, 56201


To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dr. Nelson, please visit our flower store.


Dish Garden with Fresh Cut Flowers was purchased for the family of Dr. Wallace Warren Nelson.

December 18, 2017 at 02:41 PM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM

Dear Tom, I remember stories you'd tell of Wally while we were friends in high school. He was a very intelligent man, for which you took after. Wally was always so socialable, would converse with everyone, right along with a smile to go with. When my mother had her farm sale, Wally was there to buy my dad's lawn mower. He told everyone who was there that that was what he was going to buy. By the time the auctioneer got to the lawn mower, no one dared bid on it because "Wally was going to buy it"!!!!!!! He was a happy man to have gotten the lawn mower!I send you my sympathy and blessings in the loss of your dad. It's not an easy part of life but I wish you the best. Sincerely, Pat (Knutson) Nelson

Pat Nelson - December 20, 2017 at 12:48 PM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM

Such wonderful memories of my time with Wally and Arlene, visiting over coffee before I started the ironing each Tuesday morning! Sharing tales of the family escapades, talking a bit of politics, just enjoying conversation. He was a man of integrity, full of kindness and so loving. He was a bit hard of hearing but with my booming voice, that was never a problem. Rest in Peace, Wally! It was wonderful knowing you~Darlene LovenPaynesville, Mn

Darlene Loven - December 14, 2017 at 09:55 PM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM

Blue & White Sympathy Floor Basket was purchased for the family of Dr. Wallace Warren Nelson.

December 15, 2017 at 11:13 AM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM

Dr. George Rehm and Cathy purchased the Love's Embrace Roses - Purple for the family of Dr. Wallace Warren Nelson.

Dr. George Rehm and Cathy - December 15, 2017 at 02:52 PM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM

From Gene Allen, Emeritus UM Dean of Agriculture purchased the Garden Accent Stone - 'Wherever a beautiful soul...' for the family of Dr. Wallace Warren Nelson.

From Gene Allen, Emeritus UM Dean of Agriculture - December 16, 2017 at 01:57 PM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM

My deepest sympathies go out to you and your family. May God give you the peace that you seek. Our Kids remember Uncle Wally when we had family gatherings, Uncle Wally would supervise the making of homemade strawberry ice cream-they love it.

Steve Glaeser - December 17, 2017 at 07:30 PM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM