Alvern "Al" Nelson

June 20, 1931 ~ May 3, 2022 (age 90)


Alvern “Al” Nelson, age 90, of Jackson, was called to his eternal rest on Tuesday, May 3, 2022, at the Sanford Jackson Medical Center. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, May 21, 2022, at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Jackson, beginning at 10:30 a.m. with Father Jonathan Fasnacht officiating, with a visitation one hour prior to Mass. Burial will take place immediately following mass at Good Shepherd Catholic Cemetery in Jackson, with Military Honors performed by Jackson American Legion Post #130.

Visitation will be from 4-7 p.m. on Friday, May 20, 2022, at the Church of the Good Shepherd, with a prayer service beginning at 6:30 p.m.

In Lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred.

Alvern James Nelson, son of Alex and Henrietta (Knutson) Nelson, was born on Saturday, June 20, 1931, in Lake Benton, Minnesota in Lincoln County. He grew up on the lake and without indoor plumbing in the early years. Al graduated from Lake Benton High School where he met the love of his life, Lavonne Bebensee. He had known her since grade school. He married Lavonne Bebensee at St. Genevieve Catholic Church, Lake Benton, MN on June 23, 1956. Al served in the US Army maintaining the Mucton communications cable and radio relay from Japan to Korea during the Korean War. After his service, he attended and graduated from SDSU in Brookings, SD. Al was a barber and worked with his father, Alex in a small Barber shop in Lake Benton. He continued to cut hair in his barber shop in the basement in Jackson for many years. Al’s first teaching job was at the Flandreau Indian School. He then taught in Webster, SD, before moving to Jackson. Al taught Science and Industrial Arts from 1962 thru 1993. He inspired generations of woodworkers. Al started Canoe Des Moines, a canoe rental business, in the 70’s with Horace Olson. Al and Lavonne enjoyed the company of many locals on their “couples’ cookout” where they paddled down the river with grills lit in the canoe and then stopped for supper along the way on the banks of the Des Moines River. He also had a bicycle shop with sales and repairs for many years. Alvern passed away peacefully, with his family at his side after a short illness, on Tuesday, May 3, 2022.

Al was very active in the Lions Club. He held many positions including club president, District 5M3 Governor, awarded the Melvin Jones Fellow and Helen Keller Award. He was the head pancake mixer and flipper and added his secret ingredient to the batter Al was active with the American Legion Post 130 and Color Guard. He marched in many parades and at age 90 was still part of making sure his fellow veterans were laid to rest with the proper respect and military honors. He was an active member of Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Jackson where he belonged to the Knights of Columbus, sang with the choir and “helped out” in the kitchen.

Al enjoyed golfing, fishing, and spending time with family and friends at their cabin on McClelland’s Beach on Big Spirit Lake. He started going to Canada fishing every year in his 30’s and continued the tradition with his son, daughter’s, grandchildren and other family and friends. Al was able to take this annual trip until he was 88, missing only the last 2 years due to border closing. He was a regular with morning coffee groups and playing cards. He loved to walk every day and ran Grandma’s Marathon several times. Al and Lavonne wintered in Sun City, AZ for many years.

Al and Lavonne both liked to travel. They had been to Europe, Mexico, Korea, Taiwan, and cruised through the Panama Canal. Dad was able to travel to China in 2017 with his son Tom, Joanne, Alex, and his wife Qian. He was always ready for travel adventures across the state, the country, and the world.

Alvern was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Lenora Williams, and his wife of 58 years, Lavonne.

He leaves behind a loving family: Tom (Joanne) Nelson (St Anthony, MN), Nancy (Gary) Opheim (Wichita Falls, TX), Peggy (Ramon) Rubalcaba (Kearny, AZ), Barb (Curt) Egeland (Jackson, MN), Amy (Doug) Kloth (Melrose, MN). Grandchildren: Alex (Claire) Nelson, Amelia (Aaron) Hobbins, Andrew (Laurel) Nelson, Sara (Todd) Schock, Jennifer (David Gunnels) Opheim, Kelsey (Brandon) Sulfstede, Skylar Rubalcaba, Dylan Rubalcaba, Dominic (Gabrielle) Rubalcaba, Ramon (Kendra) Rubalcaba, Shauna Bolton, Carey Egeland, Taylor (Heath) Quiring, Ray Kloth, Anna Kloth,and Benjamin Kloth:  Great -Grandchildren: Grace Hobbins, Jolene Hobbins, Axel Hobbins, Kaiden Gunnels, Koleson Gunnels, Sawyer Schock, Asher Rubalcaba, Zakk Bolton, Jace Bolton.

Al was an amazing Father, Husband, Grandpa, Great -Grandpa, and a friend to all. The world is a better place because of his time with us. He will be missed by everyone who knew him.


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Alvern "Al", please visit our floral store.


May 20, 2022

4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Church of the Good Shepherd
311 N. Sverdrup Ave
Jackson, MN 56143

Mass of Christian Burial
May 21, 2022

10:30 AM
Church of the Good Shepherd
311 N. Sverdrup Ave
Jackson, MN 56143

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