Mr. Earl Arthur Nelson

August 19, 1922January 10, 2013

In Loving Memory Of

EARL ARTHUR NELSON August 19, 1922 – January 10, 2013

On January 10th, Earl Nelson “slipped the surly bonds of earth…and touched the face of God,” passing quietly from this life into the next.

It was truly the saddest day of our lives, but we also rejoice in a life well lived. It was a privilege to share in his life, and to call him dad, husband, uncle, papa, and friend.

Remembering Earl with love are his wife of 58 years, Mitsuko, his daughters Patrice, Kathryn, and Lori, and his son David, David’s wife, Laurie Shaw, and their children, Michael and Linsey. Also remembering him are his special in-laws, Yoshiko Oshiro, Lillian Oshiro and Rev. Tom Oshiro; dear cousins, Mildred Woodbeck, Betty Weaver, Myrtle Noy, Glen Nymark, and Harriet Laudadio; many nieces and nephews; and friends of all ages.

Earl was born in Dryden, Ontario and made the move to Kenora when he was two years old, with his dad Godfrey, mother Judith, sisters Dora (Everett Carlson), Ruby (Earle Hooper), Irma (Roy Anderson), and brother Rolph. Godfrey was a partner in the contracting firm of Bergman and Nelson, and the family established themselves first in Lakeside and then purchased the family property on Tunnel Island where Earl lived most of his 90 years. It was there that his love for Lake of the Woods began—a love that he shared with his family and friends and a love that was strong throughout his life.

When World War II broke out, he enlisted in the RCAF and served his country as a pilot. Upon his return from overseas, he attended the University of Manitoba and in 1950 graduated with a degree in architecture. He studied, traveled and worked in Europe but eventually returned to Kenora where he established his own architectural firm, Earl A. Nelson Architect.

It was at First Baptist Church that the foundation was laid for Earl’s lifelong love and commitment to Jesus Christ. There he also met his other love, Mitsuko Oshiro. They were married on November 20, 1954.

Along with Mitsi and their children, he sailed the lake every summer, and he enjoyed sailboat racing with his family as crew. His passion for flying continued after the war and he spent as much time as possible in the air, being one of the founding members of the Kenora Flying Club. He loved a casual game of golf, played tennis and hockey, curled, cross-country skied, played a wicked game of croquet, and in his later years, enjoyed a good game of pool with his friends at the Seniors Centre.

He also was involved in the community in many ways, most notably as a Rotarian for 58 years, and served on the hospital board, the library board and the school board among others.

But more significant than what he did was who he was. He was a man who honoured God; he enjoyed having his yard filled with family and friends; never hesitated to pick up a hitchhiker and occasionally offer him his couch; never said no to a plea for help if it was within his ability to give; forgave easily; loved lemon pie, gingersnaps and pickled herring (not all together); showed his love for Mitsi in romantic ways; and in the words of his daughter-in-law Laurie, “grew his own friends”—his kids.

He built forts and skating rinks for his children, grandchildren and all the neighborhood kids; never shied away from trying something new, whether it was making Swedish thin bread or playing the harmonica. He was always singing, though he couldn’t really carry a tune; offered a wise word when asked; at age 80 broke his arm playing hockey with his grandson; and loved to tell jokes but rarely remembered the punch line. He enjoyed a fine meal but considered his special goulash, a combination of pork and beans and whatever, just as delicious. He instilled a love of travel in his children; had an unerring sense of direction; and had more firsthand knowledge of the reefs on the lake than most. He was a peacemaker. And he loved life!

A celebration of Earl’s life will be held on Wednesday, January 16 at 2:00 pm at Knox United Church. Refreshments will follow in the lower auditorium.

If friends so desire, donations may be given to the Lake of the Woods District Hospital Foundation in Earl’s memory.

The family would like to thank Dr. Beveridge, and the emergency department and third floor staff at the Lake of the Woods District Hospital for their exceptional care of Earl during his hospitalization.

He will be called “a tree of righteousness, planted for the display of God’s splendour.” (Isa. 61:3b)

Online codolences may be made at



  • Memorial Service Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Mr. Earl Arthur Nelson

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Lesley Woodrow Gibson

March 24, 2013

I went to school with Patty & Kathy at Lakewood. They were beautiful people and while I never met their parents, I knew they must have been very special people. My condolences to the whole Nelson family as you grieve the loss of this wonderful man. Celebrate his memory and know he is always with you.

Diana Jardine

January 27, 2013

I had the pleasure of meeting Earl at the New Horizons Sr Centre. He was a faithful pool player and I always looked forward to our weekly chats. He was always positive, always had a smile,loved to laugh and was an inspiration to us all. He always talked of Mitzi with affection and pride. Your slide show of pictures displays what a wonderful person he was as is your family. We miss him a lot! Condolensces to Mitzi and family
Diana Jardine

Jeffrey Clark

January 23, 2013

My sincerest condolences to Mrs. Nelson, Lori, Pat, Kathy, and David. I am thinking of you and will remember you in my prayers. I remember Earl fondly as someone who always had a smile and a kind word.

January 18, 2013

Heartfelt thoughts, prayers and condolences to Mitsi, Patty, Kathy, Lori, David, Laurie and grandchildren. Earl was simply one of the wisest, most generous compassionate, warm people I've known. A wonderful man with a wonderful family. Daniel Lak, Toronto.

January 17, 2013

Mitzi and family,
My sincere condolences on Earl's emise. Fondly remembered as a member of the USI, curling and great fun at NH pool games. We will surely miss him.
Wm Kidd.

January 16, 2013

A wonderful kind man he was,and an amazing sailor. Condolences to all the family. ....................Fred and Charlie Finlayson

January 15, 2013

Sincere condolences to Earl's family. His humour and pleasantness will be missed at the tennis courts and in the community.
John and Marielle Benson.

Eddelene Marais

January 15, 2013

Kathy and family
We are praying for you. Kathy we laughed together so many times, and tomorrow we will also mourn together with you.

Leslie McLinden

January 15, 2013

Shalom, from Israel. I work with Kathy in Jerusalem. Want to let you know our prayers are with you and your family. Mr. Nelson had to have been a special and wonderful man for him to have such a lovely and warm daughter. May the God of the Universe wrap you tightly in His arms and hold you very close at this moment. With love.

Carla Northcote-Brewer (Basso)

January 15, 2013

Lori and family
So very sorry for you loss. Your father was such a great and caring man. Joking with the nurses and always gentle and soft spoken. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.