“Ken” or “Kenny” Nelson is shown in a recent photo.
“Ken” or “Kenny” Nelson is shown in a recent photo.
One of the more recent admissions to Ostrander Care and Rehab is "Ken" or "Kenny" Nelson, named Noel Kenneth Nelson by his parents.

Born March 2, 1938, to Julia (Vigum) Nelson and Clarence Nelson, Kenny was nine years younger than his sister, Clarice. Clarice died at age 50. During their later years, both of his parents resided at the Ostrander Nursing Home, too.

The Nelsons had their son baptized at the Bloomfield Lutheran Church where Kenny was also confirmed. He attended a country school through the eighth grade, following up with four years at Spring Valley High School. While in high school he would have liked to play basketball, but farm chores were too demanding. During his 1955-56 senior year he participated in a class trip to Washington, D.C., along with other students, including a younger student, and his wife-to-be, Anita Lemke.

Following graduation from Spring Valley High School in May 1956, Kenny started hauling milk for Loren Brandt and also hauled corn and peas for Libby Foods. On June 14, 1957, he became an employee at the Rochester IBM facility, which was being newly built. He and several other IBM employees were sent to Endicott, N.Y., for training. He stayed with IBM for 32 years.

On May 3, 1959, Anita Lemke and Kenneth Nelson were united in marriage at Spring Valley's First English Lutheran Church. They located in Country Club Manor, living for 38 years in their home between Rochester and Byron. Their one child, a son, Steven, was born Aug. 4, 1963. The couple has three grandchildren, Tony, Julie, and Taylor. While raising a family, Kenny joined the National Guard, participating in training on Tuesday nights, weekends, and annual stints at Camp Ripley in Little Falls, Minn. One summer's National Guard commitment took him to Alaska, where a few weeks earlier a major earthquake had struck.

His retirement from IBM in June 1991, presented the opportunity to fulfill a passion for farming. In May 1997, he and Anita moved from Rochester to the "home place," an 80-acre farm between Ostrander and Spring Valley. On the tillable 72 acres he raised corn and soybeans, teaching "city girl" Anita to drive tractor and assist him with other farm tasks. In 2010, they moved from the farm to Ostrander.

Anita reports that during their years of marriage, "they've always done things together." A trip to Washington, D.C., was special because it was their second one to D.C., the first as senior class trip participants. Trips to vacation spots and to visit relatives were also part of "doing things together."

Finally, she reports, "They (the staff) are good to him here."