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Jerome Nelson

July 16, 1941 ~ October 09, 2018

Service: October 13, 2018 3:00 PM
   Location: Dokken-Nelson Sunset Chapel

Jerome S. C. Nelson passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family on October 9, 2018, in Bozeman, Montana.  Jerry was a family man with many talents and a great sense of humor - he will be sorely missed by his family and friends. 

Jerry was born July 16, 1941, in Sidney, Montana, the second son of Soren and Alice Nelson.  He was raised on a farm near Sidney and graduated from Sidney High School.  He was fortunate to have grown up in the community of Sidney with his loving family and surrounded by numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.  While in high school, Jerry worked as a meat cutter at the Sidney Co-op. 

Upon graduation, he moved to Bozeman to go to college and supported himself by working as a meat cutter at Joe’s Parkway Grocery.   He graduated from Montana State College (now MSU) with a degree in business in 1965 and accepted a job with First National Bank in Bozeman.

Jerry married Joyce L. Bigelow in Ennis, Montana, on June 12, 1966, and they were blessed with two children, Justin and Janel.  His work with the bank took them to Missoula where he worked at Southside National Bank and on to Great Falls with First National Bank.  In 1990, Jerry was promoted to President of US Bank, and the family moved back to Bozeman.   In 1993, he accepted the position of President of American Bank’s six-bank holding company where he worked until his retirement.

In 1996, Jerry was badly injured and his beloved wife, Joyce, was killed in a tragic car accident on Bozeman Pass.

In 2002, he married Arlyss Hagen.  They’ve enjoyed their retirement years together – being able to travel to visit not only their four children and families, but also various places in Mexico, Denmark and the Baltic countries.  One of their favorite times was their wedding trip.  With their truck and camper, they headed north to Alaska for the summer, returning the next summer to see some of what they missed the first time.

From his earliest years in Sidney, Jerry had been an avid hunter and fisherman.  Starting in the 1960’s, he was part of a group that annually set up base hunting camp in the Gravely mountains, always looking for elk and enjoying their camping experiences.  In addition to Montana, he hunted in Canada and Argentina, and fished in Mexico, Alaska and Canada.  Jerry was a member of the Great Falls Trap Club since the 1970’s, and in Bozeman he was a member of the “Old Farts Trap and Lunch Bunch” at the Logan Trap Club. 

One of Jerry’s passions had been home construction.  During his life, he was involved in designing and building 15 homes, and each time the family moved into and finished their new home.  Then Jerry would get the bug and would start on another one. 

Jerry was a member of Hope Lutheran Church since the 1960’s and a member of the B.P.O.E. Lodge #463 for over 40 years.  In earlier years, Jerry was active in many civic service groups.  He was president of Ducks Unlimited in Great Falls, a member of Optimists, Rotary, and Lions.  Jerry was involved with Habitat for Humanity and was instrumental in establishing low interest loans in Montana for first-time home buyers.

He is survived by his wife, Arlyss; his children, Justin of Stamford, CN, and Janel Nelson West of Monclova, OH; his wife’s children, Laurie (Kevin) Glynn of Liberty Lake, WA, and Chip (Marcia) Hagen of Vadnais Heights, MN; and his grandchildren, Nathan and Connor West, Kelsey and Christine Glynn, and Jacob and Toby Hagen.  Jerry is also survived by his “sister cousin”, Dorothy (Harold) Cavener of Paul, ID; nephew, Alan (Jolynn) Cavener; niece, Marielle (Allen) Westfall; his sister-in-law, Peg Nelson of Powell, WY; nephew, Troy Nelson and daughters, Allie and Sydney Nelson; niece, Tara Nelson and son, Ian; cousins, Kathryn Jensen, Kermit (Sandy) Peterson, Lucille Sorensen, Charlotte Oien, and Audrey (Carl) LaFleur.

Jerry was preceded in death by his best friend and brother, Leland; his first wife, Joyce; and his parents, Soren and Alice Nelson. 

A Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, October 13 at 3 p.m. at Dokken-Nelson Sunset Chapel.  A reception following at the Belgrade American Legion.  In lieu of flowers, memorials/donations are suggested to a charity of the donor’s choice.

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