Denise Marie Nelson, 59, of Lanesboro, formerly of Austin, died Friday, Nov. 22, 2013, at Saint Mary's Hospital in Rochester.

Denise Marie Fournier was born April 21, 1954, in Minneapolis, to John "Jack" and Janet "Jan" (Schoen) Fournier. After graduating in 1972 from Totino Grace High School in Fridley, Minn., she attended dental hygienist school in Minneapolis.

On Nov. 12, 1994, she was united in marriage to Donald A. Nelson in Austin. She worked most of her life as a server in many local restaurants, including The Old Mill, Applebee's, Tolly's Time Out and the Austin Country Club.

She loved spending time with her nine grandchildren. She enjoyed animals and all wildlife, playing cards, shopping and entertaining.

She was famous for her luck with pull-tabs and even more famous for her cooking. Some of her highly requested recipes were for her chicken salad, taco dip, caramel corn, banana bread, bars and seasoned pretzels.

Among her favorite places was their home in Lanesboro, fondly called "The Shack," and their home in Montgomery, Texas.

Since her diagnosis with ovarian cancer in 2007, she displayed a zest for life like no other. The positive outlook and attitude was never ending.

She was blessed with many friends and always found ways to put everyone in her life before herself. She was an active member of M.O.C.A (Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Association) and Habitat for Humanity.

She is survived by her husband, Donald A. Nelson of Lanesboro; son, Noel (Angela) Karl of Eden Prairie; daughters, Marisa West of Los Angeles, Calif., Heather (Scott) Berg of Medina, Minn., Nichole (Rob) Easthouse of Rochester; sister, Cyndee (Scott) Iannazzo of Maple Grove, Minn.; nine grandchildren; her parents, Jack and Jan Fournier of Minneapolis; her in-laws, Alfred 'Cuffy' and Opal Nelson and brother-in-law, Dan (Deb) Nelson, all of Rochester.

She was preceded in death by her uncle and godfather, Tom Fournier; other uncles, Jerry, Don and Tom Schoen; and her aunt, Barb Murray.

A memorial mass of Christian burial was held on Wednesday, Nov. 27, at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Austin with the Rev. Paul Nelson officiating.

The family asks that memorials be directed to the Hormel Institute in Austin for Cancer Research. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at