Vera Peterson Nelson (1921-2010)

Vol. XXI No. 3 - Winter 2010

By: Gloria Evenson

A woman known in the community for her compassionate, professional service to many as they dealt with the passing of loved ones, was herself laid to rest October 30, 2010. She was born Vera Peterson on June 20, 1921 in Chicago, of Swedish ancestry. According to her longtime employee, Rick Ruzicka, Vera grew up in the Andersonville neighborhood. Her family was involved with Ebenezer Lutheran Church, where she married John A. Nelson.

John’s father, August Nelson, had founded the Nelson Funeral Home at Ashland and Foster in 1929. After John’s untimely death in 1967, Vera took on the family business herself, and successfully ran the business in addition to raising eight children.

If that wasn’t enough of a challenge, Vera is also credited with being a member of three Swedish lodges – Verdandi Lodge #3 I.O.S., Kronan Lodge #179 V.O.S.A. and Brage Lodge #2 I.O.V. – the Swedish American Museum, American Daughters of Sweden, Three Crowns Park Service Guild, Swedish Cultural Society, PI EPSILON CHI Sorority and the Swedish Historical Society. Oh yes, this formidable Swede also remained a member of Ebenezer Lutheran Church. That church was filled with family and friends who came to honor and remember Vera after her passing October 26, 2010 at age 89. Daughter Janet, who now manages Nelson Funeral Homes, and son Richard shared stories of letters he would write as a child for their mother to read when she got home from work. Daughter-in-law Lois recalled Vera as someone who not only knew how to run a business, but how to give a hug and a cup of coffee when needed.

Vera Nelson is survived by seven of her eight children, 21 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. She is buried at Memorial Park Cemetery. Nelson Funeral Homes operates at two locations, 5149 N. Ashland in Chicago and 820 Talcott Road in Park Ridge.