Range Funeral Homes


Roger Ives Nelson

07/10/1946 - 02/16/2021

Roger Ives Nelson, age 74, died on February 16, 2021 at his home with loved ones by his side, after his courageous battle with cancer.

Roger was born July 10, 1946 to Lester and Pat (Gjerstad) Nelson in St. James, MN. Roger graduated high school in St. James, Class of 1964, where he lettered in wrestling, football, and track. Roger then graduated from Bemidji State University and later got his Master’s Degree. Roger started his career at Virginia Public Schools teaching Biology, Health, Physical Education, and Driver’s Training (1969-2003). He also started the VHS wrestling program in 1969-1970. In 2020, he was honored by Virginia Area Wrestling for 50 years of wrestling and inducted into the St. James Wrestling Hall of Fame. Roger also coached football for VHS. Roger spent his life either playing, teaching, coaching or mentoring his younger brother, nephews, students, children, and grandchildren. He felt passionately that sports built strong character, positive self-esteem, honesty, hard work, and dedication. All these qualities Roger lived by as he “Walked the Walk”!

Roger was married to Ruth Vogt in 1965. They had 3 children: Jackie Deinhart, Gaylen Nelson, and Matthew Nelson.

On June 1, 1985, Roger was united in marriage to Mary Sizer at the Methodist Church in St. James, MN. They made their home in Britt, MN and had 3 children together: Cody Nelson (Ashley Brownlee), Patrick (Steph) Nelson, and Lindsay Nelson (Jay Delcaro); and step-daughter, Shannon Sawatzky.

Roger and Mary enjoyed 35 loving years together with their large blended family get togethers, playing bags, grilling, and sitting around the camp fire. Roger enjoyed hunting with family and friends, and of course, his beloved dogs. He also loved to fish and camp.

Roger is survived by his wife, Mary; his children; many grandchildren; sister, Shiloy Schmidt; step-parents, Arnie and Marilyn Bishop; brothers-in-law, Richard (Debbie) Elness, Scott (Marcia Poulson) Sizer, Clay Sizer, and Todd (Clarice) Sizer; and several nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Lester and Pat Nelson; parents-in-law, Patrick and Shirley Sizer; sister, Phyllis Elness; brother, Jeff Nelson; and infant granddaughter, Anna Deinhart.

A Celebration of Life will be held at the Range Funeral Home in Virginia, MN on Saturday, March 13, 2021 at 12:00 pm. Visitation will be from 10:00 to 12:00. Pastor Richard Lohry of Sand Lake Chapel officiating. Lunch will follow at the VA Serviceman’s Club. Arrangements are with Range Funeral Home in Virginia. To sign the online guest book or send condolences visit www.rangefuneralhomes.com.

6 thoughts on “Roger Ives Nelson”

  1. So sorry for your loss Still am part of the family! Spent alot of wonderful times at Long Lake Roger was married to my sister Ruth Ann. Jeff and Shiloy and I had alot of fun at that cabin !! Thinking about all of you and trust God will hold you close during these trying times. Love you guys. Janelle Jost

  2. Linds Jacobson says:

    So sorry to hear of Roger’s passing. I will always remember the times my mom and I sat with the two of you at the Fortune Bay dinners. I will miss his smiling face when making pasties at the legion. Good people are taken from us too soon.

  3. Tom Hafdahl says:

    I am so sorry to hear of Roger’s passing. It was a pleasure working along side of him for many years. I skimmed many a coaching tip from him over the years as I thought he was an excellent motivator.
    I know you will find comfort in remembering a life lived well.

  4. Mike Bruder says:

    Mary you don’t know me but my experience with Roger was only very short I only lived two blocks from him but I did wrestle with him but I haven’t seen him since we graduated I sense then Jesus is the most important thing and I finally got a hold of Roger and he gave the best confession at Jesus as his Lord and that’s what Hass to be shared with the rest of the class and his friends because that’s what Roger confessed hallelujah

  5. Michael J McMillan says:

    So So sorry to hear about Mr. Nelsons passing as a past student I have many memories about his gym class and wrestling practice with that man. He taught me a lot about just keep trying just keep digging. Was he tough and a bit on the edge…Yes but that was him and to live your life as you believe it should be is the way he thought and more importantly, its how he lived. God Bless him a and his family. You will be in our prayers. MJM

  6. Tim Kishel says:

    My thoughts and prayers go out to Roger’s family. I had the privilege to be one of his students and he served as my wrestling coach; where he instilled discipline, confidence, and a positive work ethic. He will be greatly missed.

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Saturday 03/13/2021 at 12:00 PM
Range Funeral Homes, 16th Street North, Virginia, MN, USA

Visitation begins at 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM