IN LIEU OF FLOWERS memorials may be directed to the family who plan to disburse amongst Larry’s favorite causes/organizations/charities.
A Memorial Mass of Christian Burial for Donald "Larry" Nelson, age 79 of Lake View, IA, will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 18, 2023, at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Wall Lake, IA, with Father Joe Dillinger and Deacon Butch Stone officiating. Visitation will take place Friday, November 17, 2023, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the church. Larry passed away peacefully on Monday, November 6, 2023, at his home surrounded by his family.
Donald Lawrence “Larry” Nelson was born to Donald & Fern (Nellis) Nelson on March 5, 1944, in Green Bay, WI. The family moved to Lake View, IA, after his father, Don, came back from WWII.
Larry was the apple of their eye, even though he was a handful, tough as nails, and always an explorer. Living a block away from Black Hawk Lake, Fern decided to get him outside for fresh air and a break for herself so, she tied him to the clothes line where he could run. She panicked when she spied his overhauls dangling from the line and he was nowhere to be found! Don finally found him buck naked watching a fisherman down by the lake. He was a “natural” adventurer and that would lay the foundation for his life.
Whether it be skiing down the waterway ditch in Black Hawk Marsh or playing the tuba loudly while walking home from school, everyone who knew Larry could tell you numerous stories about his many adventures and antics. He had a zest for life that led to many memories being made over the years with his family and so many friends; memories they will all hold near and dear to their hearts.
Larry spent his childhood in Boy Scouts, playing little league baseball, riding bikes, fishing, and hunting. Sometimes he would even include his two sisters, Mary and Becky, on his adventures. He gave it his all in playing football, baseball, and running track. He even went on to play football in college and was quite the star! Larry was also known as Yogi which stuck with him his entire life. He was christened with the name while playing football, as his legs looked like Yogi Bear. He also wore a raccoon coat and hat so either way he was a “Yogi.” He loved to hunt with his dad and buddies, which served him well later as a Marine Sniper because he rarely missed his target.
Larry attended Drake starting in 1962 where he pledged Alpha Tau Omega. He loved his time at Drake so much so, that the Sac County Draft Board came calling and he was soon a Marine. Semper Fi! He reported to Camp Pendleton in 1966, and became a Marine Sniper. He was who he was from birth...one tough SOB! Larry was seriously injured in Viet Nam, receiving many combat medals, including a Purple Heart, and would forever be a changed man. After coming home he finished college at Buena Vista College in 1969 and was one of two former military men who played college football for Coach Nauton.
After graduating college Larry settled in Lake View and joined his dad at the family business, Jacobsen Seed. In 1985 he became the third-generation owner of the company, building it into an even more successful business.
Larry met the woman who would become his wife when his sister Mary brought her friend Lynn Griffin home one weekend from UNI. Larry and Lynn were married at the Little Brown Church in Nashua on July 3, 1971. They were blessed with three children, Dave, Dan, and Katie, who meant the world to him. Larry was active in the American Legion and was so proud to serve his country. He demonstrated this in many ways, but especially by donating flags and poles to people throughout the Lake View community. He had a “magnificent obsession” for helping others. He loved big game hunting, fishing, and being outdoors; especially in Wyoming. Larry also enjoyed playing tennis, racquetball, was an avid runner, and loved winning a good game of cribbage. Afterwards flashing his big pearly white smile, another attribute he’ll be well remembered for.
Larry’s last hard fought battle was with cancer and on Monday, November 6, 2023, he passed away at his home surrounded by his family.
Larry loved his family, his country, and loved to help others. He will be greatly missed by all those who knew and loved him. Left to cherish his memory are his wife, Lynn Nelson of Lake View; children Dave (Anji Bennett) Nelson of Lake View, Dan Nelson of Minneapolis, MN, and Katie Nelson of Republic, MO; grandchildren Eliana Nelson and Jack & Charlie Jo Straight; mother-in-law Martha Griffin of Newton; sisters Mary Ira of Aurora, CO, and Becky Stille of Naples, FL; many extended family members and friends from all over, as well as his beloved horses, cats, and Lynn’s dog he called Puppy (Puppy’s name is actually Curly).
He was preceded in death by his parents, Don and Fern Nelson; father-in-law Charles Griffin; and brother-in-law Steve Stille.