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Merlin W. “Curly” Nelson, 92, of Oakland NE


Merlin W. “Curly” Nelson was born to Gust William and Julia Augusta (Anderson) Nelson on January 1, 1924, in Oakland, Nebraska. He passed away with his family by his side on Thursday, November 10, 2016 at Oakland Heights Nursing Home, at the age of 92 years.

Curly graduated from Oakland High School in May, 1942 and served in the Army from 1942 to 1946. He drove a tank in the Philippines during World War II. Upon discharge, Curly worked in his Dad’s grocery business. He also drove ambulance and worked with Palmquist Funeral Home. He fell in love with the nurse who was riding in the ambulance while he was driving patients to Omaha, Sara Jane Weaver, and they married on January 7, 1951. Two daughters were born to this union, Marilee Sue and Julie Ann.

His dream of building a grocery store became a reality in 1961. In 1989, his daughter, Julie, bought the business when Curly retired. In 2006, Curly and Julie celebrated their 100th anniversary of their family business with a year-long celebration.

In 2013, Curly was named Swedish King at the Oakland Swedish Festival. Curly was a member of First Covenant Church, now used as the Swedish Heritage Center. Upon its closing in 1985, he moved his membership to the First Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Curly is survived by his daughters, Marilee (Jim) Groth and Julie (Terry) Johnson of Oakland. He has four grandchildren, Elisabeth (Chad) Linder and Dillon (Kelli) Johnson of Oakland, Tyler Groth of Lincoln, and Emilee Groth of Omaha. He has six great- grandchildren, Zoe, Mia and Gabi Linder and Ava, Landon and Scarlett Johnson of Oakland. His special friend, Arlene Carper of Oakland, has been his companion for over 20 years.

He was preceded in death by his parents and wife Sara Jane in 1986.

Memorial Visitation will be Mon., Nov. 14th from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Pelan Funeral Services in Oakland. Family will be receiving friends during this time.

Memorial Service will be Tues., Nov. 15th at 10:30 a.m. at the Swedish Heritage Center. Burial is at the Oakland Cemetery with Military Honors.

Memorials suggested to the Swedish Heritage Center, P.O. Box 146, Oakland NE 68045.

Merlin "Curly" Nelson

Merlin “Curly” Nelson

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About katcountryhub
I am a graduate of Northeast Community College with a degree in journalism. I am married to Jeff Gilliland. We have two grown children, Justin and Whitney and four grandchildren, Grayce, Grayhm, Charli and Penelope. I will be covering Lyons, Decatur, Bancroft and Rosalie and am hoping to expand my horizons as time progresses!

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