Death – Obituary: Ralph L. Nelson – Door County Pulse

Death – Obituary

November 23, 1935 ~ December 21, 2021

Ralph L. Nelson, 86, of Sturgeon Bay died on Tuesday, December 21, 2021, with family at his side. He was residing at Cherry Cove Assisted Living Center in Sturgeon Bay after a long illness.

He was born November 23, 1935, in Ellison Bay, the son of the late Elmer and Irene (Gename) Nelson. He served his country proudly as a paratrooper with the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army. Ralph held many occupations throughout his life (truck driver, Great Lakes freighter crew member, commercial fisherman, etc.) before settling in as an automotive mechanic for J & W Motors, Jones Chrysler Plymouth and Moeller’s Garage until his retirement. In retirement, Ralph was a familiar face to many as he worked at the Marathon Gas Station.

On January 3, 1959, he married Rosalind J. (Bishop) Greatens at St. Mary Catholic Church in Chilton, WI. Their son Mark was born later that year. The marriage ended in divorce in 1975.

On December 10, 1978, he married Dawn M. (Serafico) Nelson at St. Peters Ev. Lutheran Church. She preceded him in death on January 10, 2009. Daughter Kimberly was born of that union.

Ralph was a member of St. Peter’s Ev. Lutheran Church. He was also a former member of the American Legion Post in Sturgeon Bay. He was an avid deer hunter, Brewers and Packers fan and enjoyed playing cribbage, bowling and a good Brandy Old Fashioned. Ralph was a fun loving, smiling joker who made you feel better just being around him.

Survivors include his son, Mark (Laura) Nelson of Franklin, WI; daughter, Kimberly (Kevin) Kasten of Sturgeon Bay; two step-sons, Jeff (Mary) Serafico, Quintin (Debbie) Serafico, both of Sturgeon Bay; eight grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; brother, Richard (Karen) Nelson of Sullivan, WI; sister, Alice Dragich of Menomonee Falls; and sister-in-law, Judy Nelson of Ellison Bay.

Preceding him in death were his parents; wife; two granddaughters, Alaya Serafico and Kristin Nelson; three brothers, George, Walter & Cedric; and two sisters, Marion Hoelz & Judy Fandrei.

He will be laid to rest at Bayside Cemetery Columbarium. A celebration of life is being planned for a future date in Ellison Bay.

Huehns Funeral Home, Inc. in Sturgeon Bay is assisting the Nelson family with arrangements. Expressions of sympathy, memories, and photos of Ralph may be shared with his through his tribute page at

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What Is An Obituary

In national newspapers an obituary (obit for short) is a news article that reports the recent death of a prominent person. Although it tends to focus on positive aspects of the subject’s life this is not always the case. According to Nigel Farndale, the Obituaries Editor of The Times: “Obits should be life affirming rather than gloomy, but they should also be opinionated, leaving the reader with a strong sense of whether the subject lived a good life or bad; whether they were right or wrong in the handling of their public affairs.”

In local newspapers, an obituary may be published for any local resident upon death. A necrology is a register or list of records of the deaths of people related to a particular organization, group or field, which may only contain the sparsest details, or small obituaries. Historical necrologies can be important sources of information.