Life's Passages

John R. Nelson,

John R. Nelson,

74, Tofte, died Saturday, December 26, 2015 at Essentia St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth.

John was born on April 24, 1941 to Emil and Rae (Kakko) Nelson in St. Paul, Minnesota. As a child, John moved to Tofte where he attended elementary school and later graduated from high school in Grand Marais.

In 1962, he married Janet Revier in Sandstone Catholic Church. Following high school, John worked for Erie Mining in Hoyt Lakes, operated the Shell Station in Schroeder, then moved to Minneapolis where he worked as a machinist for several years.

In 1971, John returned to Tofte and started Nelson Machine Products, a waste disposal company. He also worked as a school bus driver and in 1976 went to work for LTV Mining in Taconite Harbor. In the 1980s, he started Galaxy Satellite Sales and installed over 500 satellite television systems on the North Shore.

John was a founding member of the Tofte Fire Department and assistant chief for over 27 years. He also served on the Tofte Rescue Squad and the Tofte Town Board, and was well known as the handyman to call in Tofte. John was recognized as Tofte Citizen of the Year in 2009. He enjoyed fishing, car collecting, firearms, and travelling.

He is preceded in death by his parents and a daughter, Renee

Nelson Cherney.

John is survived by his wife of over 53 years,

Janet; a son, Richard

(Kathy) Nelson of Tofte; grandchildren, Caitlin (Kris) Strand of San Diego, and Daniel Nelson of Eveleth.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. on January 9, 2016 at Zoar Lutheran Church in Tofte. To sign the online guestbook please visit

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 Our deepest sympathies at this sad time.

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