John Marius Nelson

August 24, 1942 ~ July 22, 2021

John M. Nelson 78, Sioux Falls, ran out of bonus time on July 22, 2021, at Ava’s House, in Sioux Falls. He would tell you that his demise was scheduled for April 1974, however, kidney dialysis and a kidney transplant from his sister, Kris, postponed that date. John liked to think that he appreciated every minute of that bonus time.

Visitation with family present will begin at 9:30am. Funeral services will begin at 10:30am at First Lutheran Church (327 S Dakota Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57104), in the Chapel on Tuesday, August 3, 2021.

John Marius Nelson was born on August 24, 1942, to Kermit and Bernice (Carlson) Nelson in Canton, SD. His family moved to Sioux Falls, SD, where he graduated from Washington High School in 1960.

John married his wife, of 56 years, Bonnie Hess, in 1965. They moved to Minneapolis, MN. He honorably served in the US Army as a Medical Laboratory Specialist from 1966 to 1969. After his service, he and Bonnie moved back to Sioux Falls, where he started his career with the City of Sioux Falls in the Health Department. After 37 years serving the city of Sioux Falls, John retired as the Public Health Department Laboratory Supervisor.

John was a lifelong learner. He graduated with his Bachelor of Science from Augustana College, in 1971, and later received his Master of Science degree from the University of South Dakota, in 2005. In retirement, he enjoyed taking many courses thru OLLI.

John was active with the American Public Health Association, the South Dakota Public Health Association, and the National Kidney Foundation of South Dakota.

John enjoyed science, art, cycling, photography, listening to public radio, writing poetry and short stories, traveling, music, and U-Conn Women’s Basketball.  He also loved time with friends and sharing a good cup of coffee, a glass of wine, or a favorite German Beer.  John was a passionate supporter of South Dakota Friends of Traditional Music. His grandson, James, held a special place in his heart.

He is survived by his wife Bonnie, daughter Sara (Son-in-law John), grandson James and sisters Nancy Nelson and Kris (Pat) Roberts.

John was preceded in death by his parents, sister Anne and his two beloved dogs Alfie and Morgan.

“What is the meaning of life?” is the response John would often have when asked if he had any questions.  If asked, he’d say, “Enjoy it.  Every day is a gift to be savored and celebrated,” or simply “Carpe Diem.”

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  • Lisa Munk says:

    So sorry to hear of his passing. He was such a nice man! Raising you all in the light during this hard time.

  • John was a very interesting person…I very much enjoyed reading his insightful thoughts on many topics on Facebook….Please accept my deepest sympathy….

  • Jill hult says:

    Bonnie, I am so sorry for your loss

  • Bonnie, Sarah, and family we send our deepest sympathy to you. I always enjoyed John’s comments and humor.
    We hold you in our hearts.

  • Bill Bennett says:

    Rest In Peace, John. You were a great storyteller and writer. I enjoyed our writers group and considered you a friend.

  • I just heard the news of John’s passing…I am deeply saddened and feeling emptiness that I won’t see or talk to him again. He was one of the best human beings I have ever known..My sincere sympathies go to Bonnie, Sarah, and family.

  • The Quarter Century Club George Franklin says:

    Bonnie and The Family
    Bonnie you know how much he meant to our Club and to me personally. Barb and I are talking about him and remembering that John was one of our original members! If there is anything I or Barb or the club and do for you you simply need to let us know. Love you so much!

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