Kenneth Charles Nelson, 83, passed away November 26, 2013 in Waupaca, WI surrounded by his family.
Ken was born to Charles and Iva (Brunker) Nelson on September 10, 1930 in Waupaca. While growing up he was an active member of the Boy Scouts and achieved the highest rank of Eagle Scout including the Order of the Arrow. He graduated from Waupaca High School in 1949 and then served in the 32nd Division of the Wisconsin National Guard. He attended the University of Wisconsin at Madison, earning a Bachelor of Science degree and two Master of Science degrees; one in Agricultural Economics and one in Soils. While at UW-Madison, he met and married his college sweetheart, Nancy Zernzach, on June 7, 1954. They spent 59 wonderful years together and had two sons, Craig and Brent. After college he worked as an Agricultural Agent in Sauk County, and later served as a Professor at the UW-Madison Extension where he assisted in establishing the Local Government Center.
Ken was very active in the Baraboo Community. He served as Alderman and President of the City Counsel for many years. He was especially proud of helping establish the University of Baraboo/Sauk County. He also belonged to many organizations including leadership positions in most: Baraboo Jaycees, Kiwanis, Masonic Lodge, Elks, Sauk County Historical Society, Sauk County Housing Authority, Al Ringling Theatre Friends, Crane Foundation and the Wisconsin Alumni Association. His love of the outdoors inspired him to purchase property in Waupaca and Portage County while in college, establishing the Tomorrow River Tree Farms. Thousands of trees were planted every spring for countless years, resulting in reforestation of waste land. Through the pine forests, many memories were created with his two sons and grandchildren by making and riding trails, hunting deer, turkey, and fishing in the ponds he built for wildlife preservation. Retirement years were spent mostly at their lake home near Wild Rose or at their farm home near Waupaca. As Chairman of the WRK Lake District near Wild Rose, he was instrumental in keeping Kusel, Round and Wilson Lakes free of invasive species.
Ken was preceded in death by his father, mother, and sister, Betty (Maresh). He is survived by his wife Nancy, Baraboo WI; sons Craig (Deb) Nelson, Waupaca WI and Brent (Lisa) Nelson, Plover WI and four grandchildren Brianna, Brittany, Nicole, and Nathan. Ken lived his life to the fullest. He was very generous, always willing to help those in need, and enjoyed the time spent with his family whom he loved dearly.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Sauk County Historical Society, the Waupaca County Historical Society or a charity of your choice. A celebration of his life will be held December 8th from 11 – 4pm at the Waupaca Ale House, 201 Fox Fire Drive, Waupaca WI. Holly Funeral Home in Waupaca is assisting the family with arrangements. www.hollyfuneralhome.com.