Cover photo for Gene Nelson's Obituary
Gene Nelson Profile Photo
1938 Gene 2022

Gene Nelson

September 15, 1938 — July 25, 2022

Gene Nelson, 83, formerly of Hawley, MN, died July 25, 2022, in Monticello, MN, under care of hospice.

Gene Nelson was born September 15, 1938, the son of Charlotte and Henry Nelson.  He graduated from Hawley High School and met his wife of 53 years, Marlene, at a dance in the Detroit Lakes Pavilion and together they raised two daughters in Hawley, MN.  He lived in Hawley for 80 of his 83 years.

A self-reliant businessman, Gene owned a custom combining business for many years then changed professions to drive his own semi-truck for Valley Express Trucking until he retired. In his younger years he served in the Air National Guard as an airplane mechanic.  Growing up he enjoyed boxing in Fargo Golden Gloves matches and drag racing may have gotten him into a little trouble a time or two.  He was a volunteer fireman for the Hawley Fire Department for decades.  An avid outdoorsman, he went on many trips with friends fishing and hunting in Canada and in the American West. Gene had a natural ability for music, and was self-taught at the guitar, accordion, and piano. He also enjoyed traveling to Mexico, Hawaii and Europe with friends and family. He loved going on hikes in the woods with his grandchildren and driving his motorcycle around the lakes with friends.  We fondly remember many evenings visiting by the fire with friends and family at the house he built with his own hands. Most of all, Gene was generous when help was needed by friends or family. He was the one we all could count on to lend a hand and help out with anything.

His dog, Jingles, became a very important part of his life in later years. They were best buddies and went everywhere together.  Gene had a witty sense of humor, endless patience, was kind and always had smiles and hugs at the ready. He is so loved and will be greatly missed by us all.

Gene is survived by his two daughters, Christina Gerhardson and Heidi Hanson, grandsons Carter and Sanders and granddaughter, Sasha, and three siblings, Darlene Tysdal, Letty Nelson, and Kermit (Bev) Nelson.

Gene is preceded in death by his wife, Marlene, and his parents Henry and Lottie Nelson.

A Celebration of Life Visitation will be Tuesday, August 9th, 2-4 pm at Wright Funeral Home, Hawley, MN.  If you have one and if able, please arrive at the celebration with your classic car, sports car or motorcycle.


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Gene Nelson, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Wednesday, August 9, 2023

2:00 - 4:00 pm (Central time)

Wright Funeral Home - Hawley

404 Leonard St, Hawley, MN 56549

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