Douglas Eugene Nelson, age 82, of White, passed away early Saturday morning at the Hendricks Hospital in Hendricks, MN. Funeral services were at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, July 27, 2021, at St. Thomas More Catholic Parish in Brookings. A light lunch and fellowship was at Eidsness Funeral Home in Brookings after the funeral. Visitation was from 4-7 p.m. on Monday, July 26, 2021, at Eidsness Funeral Chapel in White, SD, with a Masonic Service at 7 p.m.
Douglas Eugene Nelson was born on July 13, 1939 in Dell Rapids, South Dakota to Emory and Gudrun Nelson. He spent his youth on farms near Baltic, Dell Rapids, Garretson and Sherman, South Dakota. There was a short time spent in Madison, South Dakota where his father and uncle owned a grocery store together.
Douglas attended elementary school in Sherman, South Dakota and high school in Garretson, South Dakota. After high school he entered General Beadle State Teachers College (present day Dakota State University) in Madison, South Dakota and graduated in 1961.After he graduated, he began his teaching career in Big Sandy, Montana.
He taught Jr. High and head wrestling coach in Arlington from 1968-1973. He was a guidance counselor and head wrestling coach in Lake Preston from 1973 to 1978. During this time, he earned a MS in administration from South Dakota State University. In 1978-1980 Douglas became a high school principal and athletic director at Viborg, South Dakota.
Once leaving Viborg he came to White, SD, where he accepted a position as superintendent of Deubrook Area Schools.
He met his wife, Connie Janssen, while attending Sioux Falls College (present day University of Sioux Falls). They were married on Feb. 27, 1965, in Dunnell, Minnesota. Their first daughter, Traci, was born on March 4, 1968. Their second daughter Erika was born on August 7, 1969.
Douglas retired from Deubrook Area Schools in 2000 after 20 years as Superintendent. He was proud of building Deubrook into a Class A institution. He was also proud to finish several building projects to improve the student’s educational facilities.
Douglas enjoyed many other pursuits; he was an active member in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brookings, he served on the CASA Board, Kelly McGeough Foundation, and Brookings Hospital board until his health no longer permitted him to serve. He was in the Beadle Club for retired teachers. He was a Mason, he volunteered for Boy Scouts helping with many trips and activities. Douglas, more than anything enjoyed helping people whether through coaching, teaching, or other activities. It filled his heart with joy to see people succeed!
Survivors include his wife, Connie; daughters, Traci (Robert Innes) Nelson and Erika (Craig Spencer) Nelson Davis; grandchildren, Amber Spaans (partner, Carson Richmond), Tyler Spaans, Alchemy Anderson Craig (Brian), Ian Greer; great-grandchildren; Keenan Muscsik and Qristana Spaans; one sister, Dellene (Rodney) Dubbelde; one aunt, Rose Nelson; brothers-in-law, Bernie Janssen and Paul Janssen (Sharyn); and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Richard Nelson; and sister-in-law, Sherry Janssen.