Diana L. Nelson
July 13, 2023
BESSEMER, Mich. - Diana L. Nelson, age 75, resident of Bessemer, died Wednesday, July 5, 2023, at her home with her children by her side.
Diana was an accomplished musician, playing the piano and organ at Sharon Lutheran Church in Bessemer, and St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Holgate, Ohio. Known for her optimism and strength, Diana valiantly fought pancreatic cancer for six years with the support of her family and friends, with whom she enjoyed many adventures.
Born Jan. 18, 1948, at Grand View Hospital in Ironwood, she grew up on her family's dairy farm. Down the road was Harding Elementary School where she met her lifelong best friend, Janice, in kindergarten. She was active in 4-H and learned to sew and play the piano and trombone. She graduated from Bessemer High School in 1966.
Diana graduated from Northern Michigan University in 1970 where she was active in the Gamma Phi Alpha/Sigma Kappa sorority and majored in home economics. She honed her seamstress skills making clothes for her and her friends. In college, she earned the nickname "Grace," a term of endearment her friends continued to call her throughout her life. Following graduation, Diana moved to Canton, Ohio, where she worked for the Social Security Administration.
Diana married Glenn Nelson, son of the late Philip and Angeline Nelson, on Sept. 11, 1971, at Sharon Lutheran Church in Bessemer. In 1973, Diana and Glenn moved to Napoleon, Ohio, where they raised their family; and in 2012, they returned to the Upper Peninsula for retirement.
In Napoleon, Diana was active in the community. She volunteered for the Welcome Wagon, worked at the Fabric Center and then Walmart for more than 20 years. She also helped to establish the high school soccer teams, made bronze historical plaques with her husband, bowled in several leagues, sang in choir, and volunteered as the church librarian.
She is survived by her son, Philip (Katherine Plack); daughter, Catherine Anchin (Scott); and grandchildren, Elizabeth and Alexander Anchin. She is also survived by her siblings, Sandy Rowoldt (the late Larry) and Nancy Kauppi (David); as well as an extended family that includes many in-laws, nieces, nephews and cousins.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Glenn "Poco" Nelson; her parents, Reino and Lempi Niemi; and a brother, Richard.
A memorial service was held on Wednesday, July 12, at 11 a.m. at Sharon Lutheran Church in Bessemer, with Pastor Lauri Maki officiating. Preceding the service, the family received friends at 10 a.m. Lunch was served afterward.
The family thanks Dr. Douglas Evans, Dr. William Hall and Dr. Mandana Kamgar (Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin), Dr. Mehmet Yasar (Marshfield Clinic), and Regional Hospice from Ironwood, as well as all of the other health professionals who helped Diana. Donations can be made in her memory to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (support.pancan.org/goto/diananelson), an organization that continues to research and support families with pancreatic cancer.
McKevitt-Patrick Funeral Home of Ironwood is in charge of arrangements.