Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Leland S. Nelson


Leland S. Nelson, 90, of Bushnell, died at the Kimball County Manor on Sunday, February 23, 2014. Memorial services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, February 28, 2014 at the Trinity United Methodist Church in Kimball with Pastor Carla Gunn officiating. Cremation has taken place. Inurnment will be held at a later date. Friends may call at the funeral home on Thursday from 1:00 until 4:00 p.m. to sign the register book. Visit http://www.cantrellfh.com to view Leland's Tribute Wall and leave condolences for the family. The services for Leland have been entrusted to the Cantrell Funeral Home.

Leland Nelson was born on the family farm near Newman Grove, Nebraska on September 20, 1923 to Louis S. Nelson and Laura Catherine Nelson. He was a confirmed member of Zion Lutheran Church in Newman Grove. Leland attended grade school in Platte County and Madison County, Nebraska. After graduating from Newman Grove High School in 1941, he attended Morton Aircraft School in Omaha, Nebraska where he learned the machinist trade. While attending school at Morton, Leland learned of the bombing in Pearl Harbor. Shortly after, Leland and a neighborhood friend, Martin Crantz, hitch hiked to Buffalo, New York. It was here that he found employment with the Curtis Wright Corporation in Buffalo, New York, where the Curtis P-40 fighter plane was built. He worked there from early 1942 until his induction into the United States Army at Fort Niagara, New York in February 1943. After basic training, he was transferred to overseas duty in England where preparations were being made for the invasion of France. He served with an engineering unit attached to the 5th Engineer Special Brigade. Leland was part of the D-day landing on Omaha Beach. He served in the European Theatre of Operations for the rest of the European Conflict. In December 1945, he was honorably discharged at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Following his service days, he returned home to Newman Grove and farmed with his father and brother. Around this time, Leland met his future dear wife, Irene Vavra. Leland and Irene were united in marriage on April 6, 1947 at the United Methodist Church in Kimball, Nebraska. They farmed in the Newman Grove area for five years while raising their first two children, Janet and Carolyn. In 1952, they moved to Kimball County, Nebraska to the farm that they still call home today. During the 1950's, they continued to grow their family by adding four more children; Nancy, Vicki, Jeffrey, and Patricia. While developing his farm and ranch over the past decades, Leland received many accolades. In 1967, he received the Kimball County Conservation Award for conservation practices completed. Leland was honored in 1972 with the Outstanding Farmer Award, and in 1983 received the State Soil Conservation Award.

Survivors include his wife Irene Nelson of Bushnell, NE; son Jeff (Kim) Nelson of Bushnell, NE; daughters Janet (Mike) Kuchera of Rose, NE., Carolyn (Paul) McMillen of Sidney, NE., Nancy (Gary) Ross of Gering, NE., Vicki Snyder of Kimball, NE., and Patty Gohl of Hayes Center, NE; brother Louis A. (Darolyn) Nelson of Newman Grove, NE; 17 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren. Leland was preceded in death by his parents, infant daughter Peggy Marie; brother Eudell Nelson; grandson David Lee and son-in-law Russell Gohl.


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