Kenneth Paul Nelson

February 7, 1939April 4, 2021
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Kenneth Paul Nelson, 82, passed away peacefully on Easter Sunday, April 4th, 2021, with his family by his side.

Ken was born February 7th, 1939, in Belview, MN to Vern Nelson and Eva (Donahue) Nelson, the third of four children. His family moved to Winona and that is where he met the love of his life, Marian “Toots” Babcock. After graduating from Winona High School in 1957, he enlisted in the Army, and was honorably discharged in 1959. He returned home and married Toots on September 2nd, 1961. They made a life in Winona and that is where Ken started his banking career and they began their family with their son, Tim. In 1973, they moved to South Saint Paul for the opportunity for Ken to become the Senior Lender of what’s now known as Bremer Bank. One year later, in 1974, they added to their family with their daughter, Aimee. The family moved to Woodbury in 1977 and Ken and Toots have made their home there ever since.

Ken’s career at Bremer spanned 30 years and was the place he would retire from in 2002 as an Executive Vice President.

Over the years, he contributed and volunteered for many organizations but most notably the Jaycees, Rotary, H.E.A.R.T., Southview Country Club Board of Directors, Chamber of Commerce, Woodbury Lutheran Church committees, Bremer Bank Board of Directors and he played an instrumental part in setting up the South Saint Paul Education Foundation.

Ken enjoyed golf, golf, and more golf. He also enjoyed spending time with friends and family, mowing his lawn, playing cards with his buddies, watching any sporting event on TV, and the opportunity to meet new people. But the one thing that gave him the most joy was spending time with his grandchildren any chance he could get. He and Grandma Toots made sure the grandkids got to go and see many places – everywhere from Chanhassen Dinner Theater to Como Zoo to Disneyworld.

Ken is survived by Toots, his wife of almost 60 years; two children: Tim Nelson of Woodbury and Aimee (Shawn) Peltier of Spicer; 3 granddaughters Nikki Nelson (and fiancé Nick Battis), Addison Peltier and Sydney Peltier; brothers Bob (Joyce) Nelson and Don (Patty) Nelson; sister Jean Polus; brother-in-law Roger Neitzke; special godson, Bob Neitzke plus many nieces and nephews.

Ken was preceded in death by his parents; brother-in laws Arden Hackbarth and Pete Polus; sisters-in-laws Kay Neitzke and Joan Hackbarth.

Services for Ken will be Friday, April 9th at 1pm at Woodbury Lutheran Church, 7380 Afton Road, Woodbury. Visitation will be one hour before. Social distancing guidelines must be practiced and all guests in attendance will be required to wear a mask. Burial will follow on Saturday, April 10th at 1pm at Woodlawn Cemetery in Winona.


  • Terry Cummings
  • Dale Schenian
  • David Metzen
  • Jim Callahan
  • Bob Neitzke
  • Mike Haverkamp
  • Jamie Grupe


  • Funeral Service

    Friday, April 9, 2021


  • Interment

    Saturday, April 10, 2021


Kenneth Paul Nelson

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Dawn Bremer

April 12, 2021

My sincere sympathies to your family for the loss of a great man. I worked with Ken at Bremer and he believed in me enough to support me getting my license to sell investments in the Phone Bank. I so appreciated the opportunity. It was amazing to work under his leadership and how he always brought the fun too! Hang on to your treasured memories! My prayers are with you all.

Peter Keeley

April 12, 2021

Toots and Family,
Our sympathy to you and your family. Monie and I had the pleasure of getting to know Ken at the very special President's meetings that Bremer made available to all of us. Monie was a CFP with American Express and we will always remember Ken recruiting her. He had a way of really making a person feel special and was so passionate about his work. We will always remember those special times.
Pete & Monie Keeley

Sue Grupe

April 10, 2021

Marion and family, I am so sorry to learn of Ken’s passing. He was truly a joy to know with his amazing spirit and his wonderful smile and sense of humor. I will always remember how he arranged a baby shower for Jamie and his male coworkers after our daughter “the Empress” (as he called her) was born. I don’t know of any other male bosses who would have done that. What fun they all had! I feel so fortunate to have run into Ken and you several times over the last couple of years and get caught up. As always, we shared lots of laughs. He will be dearly missed. My sincere condolences.

Bruce Ruecker

April 9, 2021

Deepest sympathies to Toots, Tim, Aimee and the rest of Ken’s wonderful family.
I had the pleasure of working for Ken for two decades at then Drovers state bank in South St. Paul , followed by stints in Redwood Falls , Marshall and then back to the twin cities to run Bremer’s banks there. He set the standard he desired for his bank presidents and we that reported to him challenged each other to deliver for him, and him alone.
He possessed the leadership skills that drove all of us to work tirelessly to insure that the bank’s he was responsible for not only delivered the financial performance expected but that the communities we served thrived due to the involvement in same he preached as a necessary component.
Those 20 years will be remembered fondly and cherished forever, as will the many events enjoyed together along with the hundreds of employees that not only shared the successes but were responsible for it.
Rest In Peace my freind knowing that for everyone you had contact with the respect given to you was utmost in their minds. God bless you and your family knowing that the path set for them by you
Will be there honoring your legacy forever
Know fully well that whatever success I achieved is because you cared, encouraged and set the example.
We shall be forever grateful
Until we meet again
Bruce Barb and girls

Judy Nielsen

April 9, 2021

Dear Marian, Tim and Aimee,
My heart is broken for you hearing of Ken's passing. Ken will be deeply missed. I was so lucky to be his Administrative Assistant at Bremer for 10 years until he retired. (A long time in Admin years!) Ken loved his family, was very much a people person who enjoyed telling a good story and sharing a laugh. He was also a kind and generous friend and boss. Oh yes, he loved to play golf!! (I want to believe Ken is in heaven golfing and wearing his lucky green pants!) You are in my thoughts and prayers during these difficult days.

Jeff and Kathy Tucci

April 8, 2021

Dearest Toots, Tim, Aimee and family,
We are very saddened by the loss of Ken. Ken was one of the first executives I met when joining Bremer in January, 1985. What impressed me most was his willingness to give me a chance and he expressed his belief in me! He instilled trust in everyone. When I found out he loved scary movies and often went by himself, I told him I also loved them and wanted to go with him. He said we'd make it a date. I am sorry I didn't pursue this as now I have tremendous regret. We loved that man! Jeff played golf with Ken occasionally at Southview and definitely during the Tapemark. Our son caddied for him when he was 14. He's now 38. He would come home excited after a caddy gig with Ken as (at the turn) Ken would always buy him a hot dog and Snickers bar! Ken always helped people believe in themselves and to be proud of who they were and believe they could contribute. In all sincerity, we lost one of the best! Our heartfelt condolences and please know Ken will always hold a special place in our hearts!
God bless!

Deb Hilstrom

April 8, 2021

Uncle Ken will always have a special place in my heart. He would grin at me with that infectious smile and ask me "How are you doing Debbie?" When I saw his picture today I smiled and thought, yup, that's uncle Ken! I can't be with you in person to help honor him but please know that everyone is in my thoughts and prayers!

Kim Abraham (Agger)

April 8, 2021

I believe that I was one of the lucky ones who had the opportunity to know & work with Ken; those memories are now blessed with smiles. I will forever be thankful.
God be with you always and especially now.

Gary Bigler

April 8, 2021

Ken selected me to be CEO of International Falls when I was 37 years old. After a couple rough years he kept the faith in me and challenged me. I resolved to pay him back for that faith. And I did, which was the most rewarding part of my 40 year career with Bremer. He was a leader and fierce competitor and fighter. But his family was number one which it should always be. It is hard for me to believe he lost this fight.

On a more light hearted note, we were at a Bremer Presidents meeting down South. We played golf on one afternoon. On the 18th hole Ken had Mike and Bruce pressed to the top. He teed off which went way to the right and we heard a crash. Ken jumped into the cart and drove over there leaving the 3 of us there on the tee laughing. He broke the windshield out of a person’s BMW. Never forget seeing him pull out his wallet.

Ken RIP and thank you for your faith in me. God Bless.

Liz Northrup

April 8, 2021

It is with a heavy heart that I learned of Ken’s passing. Growing up, our family was blessed when the Nelsons moved in next door in Royal Oaks and I have many fond memories of Ken from that time. He had a perpetual smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye. He was warm, kind, friendly and generous. A better neighbor could not be found. Sincerest sympathies to Marion, Tim, Aimee, granddaughters and the many others now saddened by his loss.