John Chrysostom Nelson passed away on February 7, 2023, at the age of 89. John was born on December 2, 1933. He was one of 15 children born to Hiram and Barbara Nelson of Boyd, Wisconsin.
John left school after the 8th grade to take whatever work was available which included time at a bakery, working in a dairy, and putting up hay. John joined the Navy in 1951 and served until 1955 and served with his brother Loy on the USS Tidewater.
He met and married Anna Babela in 1956. John and Anna had 7 children. The family lived in Cleveland, Ohio then moved to Olney, Montana in 1962 where John took a job as a sawyer and would later work at the American Timber Mill. John built a new home in Olney, but soon another opportunity for steady work took him to Whitefish, Montana where he took a job for the Burlington Northern Railroad as brakeman. This would be John’s 35-year career.
John’s true passion was farming. He and Anna purchased an unfinished home on 80 acres near Whitefish in 1970 and John dedicated all his free time to completing the house and farming the land. Later he would purchase the adjoining property and build his second home by hand.
He was a self-made man, a great reader of all types of books, but preferred history and biographies. John enjoyed the art of beekeeping and pursued this talent in both Cleveland and Montana. He owned a log truck business for a few years and employed two sons-in-law with work. In his mid-50’s he taught himself how to play guitar. Many of his brothers and sisters were musically inclined and get togethers always included music. John also began the many hours of training that would qualify him for his pilot’s license. He owned partnership in a small engine plane for several years and enjoyed flying on blue sky days.
When John retired from the railroad, he and Anna took time to travel to many destinations in their RV often spending the winters in Arizona. They sold the Whitefish property and purchased a home in Polson, Montana. But the farmer within would not be silent. Soon they listed the property and purchased a farm at Eli Gap where John could once again farm. When this became too much, they sold the farm and purchased their forever home in Polson looking over the lake and stunning mountains.
John was loved by many, and he will be greatly missed by his family and friends and remembered for his integrity, honesty, generosity, and kindness. Love you, Dad.
John is preceded in death by his daughter, Susan Marie and a grand-daughter, Crystal Rashid. He is survived by his wife, Anna Nelson and children Chris Nelson, Sandra Tenas, Teresa Houseal (John), Belinda Rich (Jack), Jim Nelson, and John Nelson Jr, 12 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.