Antique Vintage 03

Patty Nelson

March 16, 1929 ~ January 18, 2024 (age 94) 94 Years Old

Patty Nelson Obituary

On Jan. 18, 2024, Patty Nelson died at the Fischer Cottage on the St. Johns Campus. She was 94.

Patricia Louise Beckler was born on March 16, 1929, to Milton and Catherine (Shaw) Beckler in Deshler, Nebraska.

She attended St. Peter’s Parochial School and Deshler High School. In 1947, she entered the University of Nebraska School of Nursing in Omaha and graduated in 1950.

She married Dr. Richard C. Nelson on Dec. 22, 1950, and worked as a nurse while he was in medical school. They lived in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Detroit, Michigan, where he took his internship and then residency in Internal Medicine. They returned to Dr. Nelson’s home in Billings in 1957, where his family had settled in 1896.

Their four sons were her pride and joy, and she was especially fond of her four daughters-in-law. They are: Richard C. Jr. (Mary) Nelson of Issaquah, Washington, Thomas (Kari) Nelson of Billings, Christopher (Julia) Nelson of Castle Rock, Colorado, and Jonathan (Gail) Nelson of Moorhead, Minnesota.

They were blessed with eight grandchildren: Daniel (Daniela) Nelson of Auburn, Washington, Matthew (Jaime) Nelson of Bothell, Washington, Duncan (Steph) Nelson of Billings, Kristin (Chris) Baumert of Billings, Caroline, Sidney and Ethan Nelson of Castle Rock, Colorado, and Stefan (Erin Aadland) of Moorhead, Minnesota.

Many of their family activities were enjoyed at Camp Senia, Arrow Mountain Ranch and Grizzly Peak Mountain Homes. Skiing, hunting, fishing, falconry, hockey, basketball, tennis and hiking were fun for everyone.

She and Dr. Nelson enjoyed travel through most of the 50 United States for medical meetings. They went to the Soviet Union in 1982 with the American Society of Internal Medicine during the Cold War. They attended the Republican National Convention in Miami in 1968, where he was a delegate from Montana. There, they met Richard Nixon, Nelson Rockefeller, Ronald Reagan and Billy Graham.

Patty was a dedicated community volunteer. In 1975, she started the CPR program through the Medical Auxiliary and was a founding member and first and second chairwoman of the SAINTS, St. Vincent Hospital fundraiser. She served as president of both the Yellowstone and Montana Medical Auxiliary and was an active member of PEO Chapter S and the Junior League. She also worked at Dr. Nelson’s office for seven years after the boys went to college.

After her husband died in 2010, she moved to Mission Ridge on the St. John’s Campus. There, she enjoyed the company of many longtime friends and the new people she met. She continued to travel to her sons’ homes, where she enjoyed watching her grandchildren and their activities. 

Besides her four sons, eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, she is survived by her brother, Tom Beckler (Millie) of Omaha, Nebraska, and numerous nieces, nephews and their families. She was predeceased by her husband of 60 years, Richard C. Nelson; her sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Ann and Rex Hafer, and her nephew, Gary Hafer, all of Billings.

Instead of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Johns United, St. Vincent’s Hospital Foundation or the charity of one’s choice.

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