Kenneth Nelson, 65

Published 11:49pm Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Kenneth Nelson, 65
Born: April 25, 1947
Died: May 4, 2012


Kenneth Wayne Nelson, 65, of Sun Prairie, Wis., passed away 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, Tenn., but moved to Niles when he was 4 months old. He was the oldest of seven children.

Ken graduated with honors from every school he attended. He won the four-year Simplicity Pattern Company Scholarship and graduated from Niles High School in 1965. He earned his mechanical engineering degree from the University of Michigan in 1969 and his masters in business administration degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1987.

Ken loved problem-solving and had an unparalleled work ethic. He had a successful career specializing in off-highway vehicles.

He first worked for Clark Equipment, Buchanan. He also worked for Rockwell, Case/CNH, TUG, Husqvarna and Lift Technologies. He last worked for Columbia Par Car, a division of Seats, Inc. in Reedsburg, Wis.

In 1968, Ken married Jamie Rainelle Gillentine. They have three children.

He enjoyed family vacations, chess, bridge, pinochle, euchre, racquetball, tennis and boating.

Ken played on, and managed, several fast pitch softball teams at Plym Park in Niles. 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 in Fitchburg, Wis., for taking such good care of Kenneth during his last weeks.

A memorial service will be held in Niles this summer with his family.

Memorials/donations can be sent to the family in care of Cress Funeral Home, 1310 Emerald Terrace, Sun Prairie, WI 53590 to be allocated to cancer research and Agrace HospiceCare.

By using this website’s user-contribution features, including comments, photo galleries, or any other feature, you agree to abide by the terms of use. Please read this agreement in its entirety because it contains useful information that will help you better understand the rules and general "good manners" that are expected when contributing content to this website.

Editor's Picks