FAIRMONT - Mass of Christian burial for Kenneth J. "Ozzie" Nelson, 91, of Fairmont, Minn., will be 10:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 7, at St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Fairmont. Burial will follow in Calvary Cemetery in Fairmont will full military honors by the Lee C. Prentice American Legion Post 36 and Martin County VFW Post 1222.
Visitation will be 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012, with a prayer service at 7 p.m., at Lakeview Funeral Home in Fairmont.
Ozzie passed away on Sunday morning, Sept. 2, 2012, at St. Luke's Lutheran Care Center in Blue Earth, Minn.
Kenneth John "Ozzie" Nelson was born on June 26, 1921, in Fairmont, Minn., the son of Charly and Louise (Sanftner) Nelson. Ozzie attended St. Paul's Catholic Parochial School in Fairmont and graduated from Fairmont High School in 1939. He then started working at Fairmont Railway Motors until he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps on Aug. 14, 1942. Ozzie was based in England during World War II and was a navigator on B-17 bombers, flying 35 combat missions. Ozzie also flew new aircraft overseas from the U.S. to war zones and ferried "war weary" aircraft back to the U.S. He was honorably discharged on Oct. 25, 1945. He later flew U.S. POWs home from Japanese prison camps to California hospitals.
On Nov. 5, 1945, Kenneth was united in marriage to Ramona Ruth Wirtz in Detroit Lakes, Minn., and they made their home in Fairmont where they raised eight children. After the war, Kenneth returned to Fairmont Railway Motors where, after 45 years, he retired on June 30, 1986, as V.P. of International Sales and Export Manager. He also spent 24 years in the Air Force Reserves until he retired on June 26, 1981, as Lieutenant Colonel. Ramona passed away on Oct. 19, 1996.
Ozzie was a member of St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Fairmont, served on the board of the Martin County Historical Society, the board of the Martin County Library during the building of the new library, charter member of the Fairmont Rifle and Pistol Club and was a gun safety instructor for many years. He also was a life member of the Martin Co. VFW Post 1222 and the Lee C. Prentice American Legion Post 36.
Ozzie loved carpentry and woodworking and built the home where he and Ramona raised their family. He also enjoyed photography, family genealogy, auctions and was an avid hunter. But most of all he loved to spend time with his family, of whom he was very proud.
Those who will cherish his memory include eight children, Pamela Kuisle and her husband, Ed, of Rochester, Minn., Kay Nelson and her husband, Roger Harris, of Fairmont, Minn., Mary Blomstrom and her husband, Keith, of Fairmont, Minn., Gregory Nelson and his wife, Catherine, of Owatonna, Minn., John Nelson and his wife, Diane, of Hibbing, Minn., Teresa Lenort and her husband, Duane, of Fairmont, Minn., Michael Nelson and his wife, Sherry, of Mounds View, Minn., Leann Mikkelson and her husband, Erick, of Marietta, Ga.; 18 grandchildren; seven great grandchildren; sister, Marjorie Smith and her husband, Leon, of Grand Rapids, Minn.; many nieces and nephews, other relatives and friends.
In addition to his parents and his wife, Kenneth was preceded in death by one infant son; grandson, Eddie Kuisle; two brothers and sisters-in-law, Richard and Dorothy Nelson, Howard and Janet Nelson; brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Leo Wirtz and Lucy Wirtz Corpe.
Memorials are preferred to the St. John Vianney School Endowment or the Martin Co. Historical Society.