Susan Jacqueline Nelson
July 2, 1925 – May 5, 2021
Susan Jacqueline “Jackie” Nelson passed away peacefully on May 5, 2021.
Jackie was born on July 2, 1925 to Pierce J. and Rosalie (Nugent) Landes in Model, Colorado. She was delivered at home by her thirteen-year-old sister, Mary. Jackie’s parents were originally from Laporte, and in 1930, they returned to the family farm and log home that was built there in 1881 by Jackie’s grandfather, John Nugent.
As a child, Jackie loved living next to the Cache La Poudre River – swimming and playing along the riverbanks in the summer and ice-skating in the winter. She attended school in Laporte, where she met the love of her life, Paul Nelson. She was active in 4H and worked part time at Iverson’s dairy. She and Paul graduated from Cache La Poudre High School in 1943.
After graduation, Jackie and her mother went to Richmond, Calif., where Jackie’s father was employed building liberty ships. From there, Jackie traveled by bus to San Francisco. Her impressive 90-words-per-minute typing skills quickly landed her a position at the Walton N. Moore Dry Goods Co.
In the meantime, Paul had enlisted in the Navy, and after he completed basic training, the two were married on June 14, 1944 in the U.S. Naval Chapel on Treasure Island, CA. After Paul’s discharge in 1946, they moved to a dairy farm in Storm Lake, Iowa, where their first child, Michael Jack, was born in 1947. They returned to Laporte for a short time before embarking on a big adventure and moving to Alaska in 1949.
Jackie and her dear friend, Bettie Todd, opened and operated the Jack ‘n Jill Preschool – the first preschool of its kind in the Anchorage area. In 1950, a second child, Paula Sue, arrived. The family spent nine years in Alaska, including three years in a remote cabin in the woods, where Jackie lived happily in primitive conditions and contended with a variety of critters, large and small. Jackie loved the beauty, culture, and yes, even the climate of Alaska.
The family returned to Laporte in 1958, and Jackie began a job at the CSU Housing Office until the third child, Jill Marie, arrived in 1959. Jackie tended a huge vegetable garden, raised raspberries and strawberries, and cultivated beautiful flower beds. She enjoyed canning, making jam and was famous for her applesauce – made from freshly-picked Wealthy apples from the family orchard. She also carried on the “family farm” traditions, raising and butchering chickens for Sunday dinners.
Jackie and Paul enjoyed camping, four-wheeling, and road-trips. They both loved being outdoors. When the weather turned cold, their favorite pastimes were reading, cheering on the Denver Broncos, and listening to music – Jim Reeves, Tom T. Hall, and Floyd Cramer.
Paul and Jackie purchased a home on West Mulberry Street in Ft. Collins in 1966. Jackie enjoyed furnishing and decorating the new home; she continued her vegetable and flower gardening and delighted in a new hobby – tropical fish. Her beautiful 50-gallon aquarium was always spotless and sparkling. She was a wonderful cook and hosted many large family gatherings for holiday dinners.
In 1967, Jackie returned to work full-time as a secretary in the Animal Sciences department at CSU. Jackie and Paul and moved back to the family home in Laporte in 1978. She retired from CSU in 1984.
In the late 1980s, three grandsons arrived in rapid succession. Jackie loved spending time with “her boys,” and she and Paul made regular trips to Alaska to visit Morgan, the oldest of the three. Andrew and Mitchell, who lived in Littleton, were lucky to be relatively close by and spent many weekends in Laporte with grandma and grandpa. All three of the boys loved spending time there – riding the “four-wheeler”, fishing, shooting BB guns, feeding the horses, picking apples, playing cards with grandma, and enjoying hearty portions of her delicious cooking.
The 1990's brought time for travel. Jackie and Paul took a vacation to Hawaii with family, made several trips to Alaska, and attended WWII reunions with Paul’s Navy shipmates in New Orleans and Virginia Beach.
In the late 90's, Jackie began attending Immanuel Christian Reformed Church. The kind and friendly people there instantly made her feel comfortable and welcome. She loved attending Sunday services and weekly bible studies; she officially joined the church in 2013 and made many lasting friendships.
Jackie began experiencing vision problems in 1995 and was diagnosed with Macular Degeneration, which turned life upside down. She faced this challenge with her usual positivity and optimism, continually adapting to the new normal - binoculars, magnifiers, brightly colored stickers on household appliances, and talking books.
Paul was diagnosed with cancer in early 2002. Despite her failing vision, Jackie cared for Paul at home until he passed on June 7 of that year. She later suffered the loss of two of her children, Paula in 2015, and Mike in 2019. She displayed tremendous amounts of courage, strength, faith, and grace during those difficult and sorrowful times.
In 2004, Jackie and her children attended the commissioning ceremony at Pearl Harbor for a new U.S. Navy destroyer, the U.S.S. Chung Hoon – named for the heroic commander of Paul’s ship, the U.S.S. Sigsbee. It was an amazing experience for the entire family.
In 2010, a tragic fire caused major damage to Jackie’s home, and destroyed the original log cabin built by her grandfather. At 85, and legally blind, Jackie adapted once again - this time to life in a hotel suite. She was displaced for nearly a year while her home was repaired. Well into her 90's, Jackie continued to live independently at home with help from her family, neighbors, friends, dedicated caregivers, and her Immanuel CRC family.
Jackie will be remembered for her kindness, generosity, strength, independence, ambition, sense of humor, adaptability, genuine care for others, adventurousness, and her lifelong love of learning.
Jackie was preceded in death by her husband, Paul; her son, Michael Nelson; daughter and son-in-law, Paula and Bill Kothe; son-in-law, David Hahn; sisters, Mary McNally and Edythe Landes; and step-grandson, Mark Rose. She is survived by her daughter, Jill Hahn; grandchildren, Morgan Kothe (Lauren), Andrew Hahn (Tia), and Mitchell Hahn (Shannon); great-grandchildren, Andersen Jay Hahn, Norah Nelson Hahn, and Teagen Leigh Hahn; daughter-in-law, Joyce Nelson; step-grandson, Todd Rose (Cynthia); step-great-grandchildren, Justin Rose (Araceli) and Jenny Rose; several nieces and nephews and numerous great-nieces and -nephews.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, May 28, at 1:00 P.M. at Immanuel Christian Reformed Church, 1900 S. Taft Hill Road, Ft. Collins, CO. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Immanuel CRC.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Susan Jacqueline Nelson
May 31, 2021
It’s been decades since my family (your Uncle Les, Aunt Wanda, Dyann, Mark and I) made our regular summer vacation trips to Colorado to visit family & friends, but the memories of those trips are special to all of us.
I love the memories of Uncle Finley & his family and your folks and your family. Nearly all my memories of your dad & mom involve copious amounts of laughter! I especially enjoyed Uncle Paul showing off his massive rock collection and your mom always fussing in the kitchen.
Dad passed in 2010 and mom just a few months ago in January - just before her 96th birthday.
I often catch myself thinking about calling or stopping by to see mom. It hasn’t quite sunk in yet. I suspect you may experience that yourself.
Please know how blessed we all feel to be parts of the NELSON family and that you’re in our prayers. We love you. Wayne
May 22, 2021
For the 17 years I was with TA Todd, much of our time was spent with Jackie (Susan) and Paul Nelson. We laughed, shared family stories, played cards, ate alot, played cards, bought peaches together to can or freeze, played cards, traveled together, and played cards. Get the picture. We shared a lot of time laughing and loving over card games.
When TA fell ill, Jackie and Paul were my support through his hospice period and after his death. Jackie was a second mom to TA's sons and became mom to them when Betty died. Jackie, Tom and Toby loved you alot. I respect that you were so loyal in your friendship with their mom Betty Todd.
I was reprimanded by family when after Paul's passing, my current husband and I would take Jackie out for biscuits and gravy for breakfast. When she did not feel like going out, we would get take out and bring the biscuits and gravy to her.
I first met Jackie and Paul at Jill and Dave's wedding. Jackie made me feel so comfortable and I love that she included me in multiple family barbeques and her and Paul's 50th anniversary. I miss the phone conversations of yesteryear.
Jackie showed great strength through losses of her family members who died too young. She was full of grace, honest, loyal, and a great friend. Jackie, I loved you very much.
May 6, 2021
I have so many wonderful memories of your Mom.... she was a very special woman, so many wonderful holidays spent at your home around your families table when we were growing up. I will always remember her for her kind spirit and generosity. It is with much love that I pray for you and your boys to have comfort during this time. Please know that I am praying for you and thinking of you all. May God bless you.