Jens Nelson, age 97 of Belle Fourche, SD and a long time rancher from Harding County, died Monday, Nov. 2, 2009 at Judy’s Assisted Living Center in Belle Fourche.
The funeral service will be held 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6th, 2009 at Funeral Home of the Northern Hills in Belle Fourche with Rev. Tom Martin officiating. Visitation will be held 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Funeral Home of the Northern Hills, and one hour prior to the service.
Interment will be held in Pine Slope Cemetery, in Belle Fourche. Military Honors will be provided by the Buffalo American Legion Laminson Post #147.
Jens Grant Nelson was born June 12, 1912, to Peter and Agnes (Borseth) Nelson at their ranch home in rural Harding County, SD. He grew up and attended rural school in Harding County and graduated from Buffalo High School in 1932.
After the death of his father in 1941, Jens assumed ownership of and operated the home ranch until May 11, 1945 when he was inducted into the U.S. Army at Ft. Snelling, MN after volunteering for service in WWII. He was assigned to the Armored Division and in 1946 went overseas serving in the Army of Occupation in Korea. He received his honorable discharge with the rank of Technician Fourth Grade SV Co 754th TK BN on Dec. 31, 1946, in Fort Lewis, WA.
Jens returned to South Dakota and was employed by Homestake Mining Company until 1947 when he resumed operation of his Harding County ranch. He was united in marriage to Elsie Wahl on Oct. 15, 1949 at the Presbyterian Church in Sturgis, SD. Jens’ and Elsie’s three children attended rural school in Harding County, high school in Belle Fourche, and went on to further their education. Jens’ eldest son, Larry, and his wife, Sandra, now operate the home ranch in Buffalo, SD. Daughter Carla resides in Scottsdale, AZ. Jens’s younger son, Rick, and wife, JoLene, and their daughter, Melanie, live in Belle Fourche. Grandson, Jeffrey, the son of Rick and JoLene, currently attends the University of Wyoming in Laramie.
Until he retired, Jens lived his entire life in Harding County on the ranch where he was born with the exception of his tour of duty with the U.S. Army and employment at the Homestake Mine. He loved his family and the ranch and was content to live and work on the land where he grew up. In February of 2000, he and his wife moved to Belle Fourche where Jens resided until his death on Nov. 2, 2009.
Jens is survived by his wife, Elsie of Belle Fourche; sons, Larry (Dr. Sandra Holcomb) Nelson of Buffalo, Rick (Jolene) Nelson of Belle Fourche; daughter, Carla Nelson of Scottsdale AZ; 2 grandchildren, Jeffrey and Melanie Nelson; nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his father, Peter Nelson, in 1941; his mother, Agnes, in 1973; and his granddaughter, Shelane, in 1993.
Friends and family may leave written condolences and view a video tribute at http://www.funeralhomeofthenorthernhills.com.