Stephen C. Nelsen
December 6, 1939 – June 5, 2019
Stephen C. Nelsen, age 79, died at home June 5, 2019, surrounded by family. He was born December 6, 1939, in Lincoln, Nebraska, to Auralea (Tillman) and Clarence M. Nelsen. He graduated from UNL with a BA and later a Masters degree in Biological Sciences. He continued his studies at Rocky Mountain Biological Lab, Gothic, Colorado, and the University of Minnesota Itasca Field Station.
At his core he was a teacher, working with students of all ages and interests. Steve was an Associate professor at John J. Pershing College, Beatrice, Nebraska. He taught in the public schools at Beatrice and Lincoln (Dawes Junior High School and Lincoln Southeast High School). While he retired in 2002, he continued to teach anatomy and physiology at various places in the community. He was a long-time teacher in the Summer Bright Lights Enrichment Program. Always a learner himself, he attended an intensive yoga certification program in Mexico, and returned to teach yoga throughout the community. He was always proud of the accomplishments of his students. Steve was inspired by working with administrators Darlene Rischling, Nancy Becker, Larry Eaton, Arli Tyser.
Steve loved new experiences and adventures and always wanted to be surprised by what was around the corner. He was an avid cook who was inspired by recipes, but who always added his own twists with excellent results, usually. He collected numerous smaller antiques and collectibles, including unique clocks, art pottery, toys, and lightening rod balls. He shared his knowledge about his collections with interested groups, and enjoyed the challenge of vintage clock repair. Steve loved his numerous cats, past and present, and also sought out encounters with neighborhood possums, turkeys, foxes, and other wildlife. His adventures included extended visits to Maine, Mexico, Argentina and Europe. His family loved and was better for the spice and spontaneity he added to our lives. Above all, he appreciated and admired all forms of creativity.
He was proud of being a five gallon blood donor.
Steve faced his many health challenges with grace, willing to endure numerous cancer treatments when his multiple myeloma came out of remission and accepting without complaint his loss of independence. While some people were hesitant to talk about their Charles Bonnet Syndrome visions, Steve, on the other hand, embraced them. Special thanks to Lisa Hernandez, Amanda Bauer, Ngan Do, and everyone who went above and beyond in their care for him these past few years.
Steve was a humble man who would be slightly embarrassed by this long-winded obituary, but to his family, he was larger than life. We will miss you!
Preceded in death by parents. Survived by wife Marcella Sanchez-Nelsen; children Gail Diann Sherron (Michael), Lawrence, Kansas; Paul Andrew Nelsen, Vienna, Austria; Carmen Daniela Nelsen, Washington, D.C.; granddaughter Iris Jane Sherron; brother Randall T. Nelsen; nephew Bret (Sheren) Nelsen; niece Lindsay (Ryan) Salem; dearest friends Gayla Nelsen; John, Michelle, Karli and Erica Suarez; Son and Dinh Tran and family.
Burial: 2:00 p.m. June 11, at Lincoln Memorial Cemetery, Lincoln. Meet at Gate 2. Celebration of life following burial: 3:00 p.m. at Lincoln Memorial Funeral Home. Memorials to Planned Parenthood of Nebraska and ACLU Nebraska. Online condolences may be left at lincolnfh.com
- Graveside Service Tuesday, June 11, 2019
- Funeral Service Tuesday, June 11, 2019
Stephen C. Nelsen
June 12, 2019
I helped Mr. Nelsen carry a cows head from the trunk of his car into the classrom. As we learned about the cow's anatomy he cooked up the brains for us and we all had a taste. It was certainly one of the most memorable classes of my high school careeer. I am forever grateful for his passion and kindness. He inspired me as a student and he made the world a better place. RIP. I hope to see you again one day.
June 10, 2019
God’s blessings and comfort to the family. Steve will be missed by his friends in the collecting community.
June 9, 2019
Dear Nelson Family,
I’m saddened to hear of Mr. Nelson’s passing. I am a 1999 graduate of LSE and Mr. Nelson was my 10th grade A&P teacher.
Just a couple weeks ago I thought of Mr. Nelson as I was driving home and saw a possum scurry across the road. I’ll never forget when he caught a possum in his backyard and brought it to class the following day. The possum was clearly agitated, as demonstrated by showing it’s teeth and hissing, but Mr. Nelson spoke to the possum like it was his pet. He allowed the possum to wrap it’s tail around his finger and reassured it everything would be okay as he continued to address the class.
Mr. Nelson’s A&P class was full of awesome experiences. He made learning fun; but obviously due to the nature of A&P class—the content was gruesome. Mr. Nelson encouraged students to have “strong stomachs” by developing the distinguished “Iron Stomach Award”. Each semester the student who could stomach the most gore won the award and gained bragging rights for the following semester. I think students still talk about this award to date...
What I remember most about Mr. Nelson is his encouraging words shared with students—keep your eyes and ears open to the beauty of what life has to offer. He encouraged students to take time to ‘listen’ to the beauty of their surroundings. I’ve referred back to this advice often over the years. Of all the things I learned in A&P, these words were probably the most important and I’m thankful to have had a teacher who cared enough to share them with me.
Please accept my heartfelt sympathy on the loss of Mr. Nelson. He was a great man, teacher, and educator. I hope you find peace and comfort over the coming days.
June 9, 2019
There aren't a lot of people that you know as a teenager that stay with you all your life, but Mr. Nelsen was absolutely one of them for me. Though I became a vegetarian shortly after failing to meet the stringent requirements of his "iron stomach club," much of what he said and how he taught has stuck with me to this day. I loved the way he set up puzzles for us to solve as class went along, dolling out just a bit of information at a time. I still remember the moment he got me to realize why milk is fortified with vitamin D in just this way! I use this technique with my own students now, and think of him when I do. I so hope to be able to feed and nurture their curiosity the way he did mine.
My deepest condolences to his family, and especially to you, Señora. Sending love and light from Pennsylvania.
June 9, 2019
Marcella & Family,
I just learned today of the passing of Steve. Steve was a life time learner who had a wide variety of interests. We became friends through our fascination with antique German marbles. He was a founding member of the Great Plains Marble Society. Steve would entertain us with his knowledge
of antique marble making at many of our meetings.
When he spoke to us he always prefaced it with " you know I was a science teacher so sometimes I get a little long winded".
We were always fascinated that Steve could reduce scientific logic on marble making to our level.
He was a shrewd collector, a great educator, and a good friend to us all. It will not be the same without him.
June 9, 2019
We were so sorry to hear about our dear friend Steve. It brought back memories of the good times we had with him through the years. Our interests in antiques brought about many good phone calls. We are so glad to have had a nice visit with him just shortly before we moved to Oregon. We also enjoyed the wonderful chocolate chip cookies you brought on our last get together.Thanks Marcella.Pleases accept our sympathy as you go forward. Sincerely,Paul and Sheila Thompson .
June 9, 2019
Mr. Nielsen was one of my favorite teachers at LSE. I am saddened to hear of his passing and send my thoughts and prayers to the family.
Evelyn Audi Lisi
June 9, 2019
Dear Nelsen family,
Mr. Nelsen was my 10th grade biology teacher at LSE. (I was class of 93. ) I can picture him, his classroom, hear his voice, and remember our nature walks all vividly. To me, to be remembered as such by your students over the years is the mark of excellence in teaching. It is the person we learn from. Long before mindfulness and preservation were trends ( necessities but trends nonetheless) Mr. Nelson taught us to listen , look, breathe, observe. I adored him. I was timid about the sciences, and looking back I see how much he encouraged me. I’m deeply saddened by his passing, but want you all to know how much I respected him and have always remembered him so fondly over the years. How I wish I’d been in touch. His birds are singing now outside my window. Sending love and light to you all. Fondly, Evelyn
June 8, 2019
Dear Mr. Nelsen, I only know you through the many many loving stories your son Paul told me about you. You must have been an extraordinary person and very good father. Paul told me about the turkeys in front of your house, you going on a demonstration, you doing yoga, ... I will miss the stories about you, who always made me smile. All my love and strength to your family and friends. Katharina, one of Pauls students.
June 8, 2019
Rest In Peace Mr. Nelsen. You raised a wonderful son in my good friend Paul who loved you so dearly. Much love to you and your family kind sir.