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Marion Nelson

Marion Nelson

Marion Nelson


- July 16, 2019

Marion Nelson, age 95, of Philip, South Dakota, died on Friday, April 12, 2019 at the Hans P. Peterson Memorial Hospital in Philip.

Memorial services will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, July 26, at the United Church in Philip with Pastor Kathy Chesney officiating.

Interment will follow at 2:30 p.m. at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis.

Marion Jewel Hoag Nelson was born October 22nd 1923, at home at Marrietta, South Dakota, the eldest child of Harry and Sadie (Britton) Hoag. While Harry went to get a doctor, the neighbor Myrtle (Mrs. Jake) Handley assisted the birth. Later the family, now including two brothers, Calvin and Homer, moved into Philip where Harry ran a trucking and lumber-yard business. Marion recalls that they had one of the few reliable water-wells in Philip, which supplied many local people with water and raised lots of tomatoes. Gardening continued to be one of Marion’s many pleasures, along with keeping a beautiful yard, flowers, and chokecherries which the children well remember being enlisted to participate in.

Marion also developed a lasting appreciation for cars. She and her brothers purchased a 1930’s black Packard while in high school – Marion had the money and they found the car. Later Marion purchased a 1966 Ford Mustang, which used almost as much oil as gasoline, took an auto maintenance course, and drove that car across the US, often with Dad.

Although, Marion and James S. Nelson attended high-school together in Philip and were teammates on the debate team, it was after WWII, when Jim returned from the European Theater and Marion from California, where she was employed as a defense worker, that 58 years of love and commitment to each other began. Dad was in line at a dance behind Mother and her date. The ticket agent mistakenly pinned Mother’s admission ticket on Dad’s Uniform pocket. The mistake was corrected but earned Dad a dance later that evening – Mom and Dad always loved to dance with each other the rest of their lives.


The January 1st blizzard of 1949 trapped Jim and Marion in Lusk Wyoming, as they tried to return from their honeymoon in Denver to the ranch North-East of Philip South Dakota. By spring, Mom was able to join Dad on the ranch and always loved the prairie and ranch life. She learned to ride horses and move herefords, warm chilled calves in her bathtub, drive a stick shift to pull out pickups and tractors stuck in stubborn gumbo, raise daughter Beth, and keep diapers washed for the six babies born those years – Jean, Kay, Joan, Ruth, Sue, and Mark. Marion was a wonderful and indulgent mother allowing us to take armfuls of good blankets outside to make “forts” in the old wooden hay-wagon and teaching us to sew on her Singer sewing machine… she could make a delicious meal from “leftovers” and a pot roast worth fighting over the bone-marrow. She was a gracious hostess, enjoyed decorating her home, and having friends and branding crews over for a meal.

Never one to take it easy, Marion organized, lead, or belonged to many local groups. She was a 4-H leader, member of the neighborhood ranch women County Extension Group (“Ladies Aide”), United Presbyterian Women – eventually as state president, and later Philip’s Garden club, SD Book Discussion Group. Marion studied and succeeded in commodities trading, which Dad said was her gambling fix, opened the ceramic shop in Philip with daughter Beth and worked for Social Services as a Home health assistant for 5 years.

Marion had a beautiful voice and loved to sing… in church, while riding in the car, or just singing hymns while doing housework. She loved to have a chess match with Dad in the evenings when the kids were in bed. She Loved to swim, whether in a stock dam or Philip pool or on a cruise ship. Marion loved being with family and was always ready for travels, whether by cruise ship, car, planes (large and small), trains in Alaska, or 42 foot boats. She was game for trying just about anything … whether cutting her son-in-law’s hair or learning the nuances of soccer and bull-riding. Mom will be missed.

Survivors include one son Mark (Karen) Nelson of Philip; five daughters Beth (Dave) Flom of Midland, Jeanne Hansen of Juneau, Alaska, Kay (Tim) Modde of Hill City, Ruth (Bob) Zebroski Fortune of Belvidere, and Sue (Bob) Titus of Westboro, Massachusetts; 17 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren, and 3 great-great-grandchildren; a brother-in-law Martin (Vera) Nelson of Philip; and a host of other relatives and friends.

She was preceded in death by her husband James "Jim" Nelson on October 15, 2007; one daughter Joan Marie Fortune; her parents Harry and Sadie Hoag; three grandchildren; one great-grandchild; two brothers Homer "Hank" Hoag and John "Cal" Hoag; a sister-in-law Norma Nelson; two sons-in-law Fred Zebroski and Eric Hansen; and her parents-in-law Nestor and Anna Nelson.



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