OAK PARK HEIGHTS, MINN.

Mildred Nelson (nee Rowlands)

Aug. 6, 1917 – Oct. 24, 2010


Mildred Elizabeth Nelson (nee Rowlands), 93, died peacefully Sunday, Oct. 24, 2010, at the Gathering Hospice in the Boutwell’s Landing Retirement Community in Oak Park Heights, Minn. She was born to Owen and Edith (Williams) Rowlands of rural Waukesha on Aug. 6, 1917. Mildred was the eldest of four children.

Mildred was raised on Keystone Farms and graduated from Waukesha High School. She attended Carroll College in Waukesha and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. She worked as the administrative assistant for the officers of the architectural firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill in Chicago and Oak Ridge, Tenn., during the Manhattan Project. Later, Mildred served as substitute teacher in the Dearborn Heights, Mich., school district.

Mildred celebrated her 64-year marriage to Jerome F. Nelson of Stanhope, Iowa, in 2009. They met in Cincinnati, while both on business travel. A woman traveling alone in the 1940s was rare, and when the dinner hostess would not seat her, Jerome offered her a place at his table where he was dining with business associates. They married in November of 1945 and stayed united in marriage until Jerome’s passing Jan. 26, 2010. They raised their three children in Dearborn, Mich., and were blessed with seven grandchildren.

In addition to her working and family life, Mildred was always an active member of congregations including Bethesda Presbyterian in Waukesha, Cherry Hill United Presbyterian in Dearborn and Forest Hills Presbyterian in Grand Rapids, Mich. Mildred was an avid bridge player and enjoyed playing couples bridge with friends for many years. Jerome and Mildred traveled often to visit family and friends throughout the country.

Mildred is survived by two siblings, Owen Bruce "O.B." (Lillian) and Robert (Marilyn). She is also survived by her daughter, Sara (Niall) Finn; sons, Thomas (Cindy) and James (Valerie); two granddaughters, Kelly (Nick) Zavala and Kendall; and five grandsons, Seth (Laura), Jamie (Tania), Sean, Christian and Brendan.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Jerome; and her sister, Ann.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29, at Bethesda Presbyterian Church in Waukesha.

Donations, in lieu of flowers, may be made to Bethesda Presbyterian Church or to the charity of the donor’s choice.