WINSIDE — Graveside services for Chris “Vernon” Nelsen, 101, Hudson, Wyo., will be at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13, at Pleasantview Cemetery in Winside. A processional to the cemetery will gather at 1:30 p.m. at the Winside Legion Hall.
He died Tuesday, July 9, 2019, at Westward Heights Care Center in Lander, Wyo.
Vern lived a full life with many adventures, was loved by all and will be greatly missed.
Vern was born Chris Vernon Nelsen on May 4, 1918, to Chris Nelsen Jr. and Ella (McVay) Nelsen. Vern’s dad was serving in World War I at the time for Vern’s birth and six weeks after his birth, his mother, Ella (McVay) Nelsen, passed away.
Vern’s grandmother raised him in Arkansas until he was 4 years old. Chris Nelsen Jr. returned from World War I and settled in Winside with Vern and eventually remarried.
Vern grew up during the difficult times of the depression and graduated from Winside High School in 1937. Vern found work in western Nebraska and eastern Wyoming after high school. Next, Vern joined the Civil Conservation Corp in Madison until he enlisted in the U.S. Army in February 1941.
He switched from the Engineers Division to the 1st Armored Division and in August 1941. They went on a 13 state maneuver that brought them back to Fort Knox, Ky., on Dec. 7, 1941.
Instead of the discharge they had expected, they began preparations to be transported via the Queen Mary ship from New York to Scotland in May 1942. They were ferried to Northern Ireland for training and sent to North Africa to help the Allied forces. They fought their way across northern Africa and then made their way through Italy.
Vern had enough points when he reached Florence, so he was sent back to the states May 22, 1945. In order to get back to Winside, he took a train, bus and the final 30 miles hitchhiked.
After the war, Vern met and married the love of his life, Anita Hintz. They moved to Wayne, where Vern became a mechanic and they had their first of two children, Linda, in 1949. In 1951, they moved to Norfolk, where Vern was a certified Chevrolet mechanic at the local dealership.
They moved several times over the years in and near Norfolk. Vern became a front-end auto alignment specialist and people came from all over Northeast Nebraska to have Vern work on their vehicle.
Vern was a dedicated worker and family man. He also wanted balance of life. Vern and Anita enjoyed camping and traveling all over Nebraska and stayed connected with friends and family all over the western United States.
In 1961, Vern followed in his dad’s footsteps and became commander of the Legion Post 252. Vern was a member of the Legion Post 252 for 74 years. Every year, no matter where his adventures took him, he would return to Winside and attend the memorial services and also attend his all school Winside High class reunion.
In 1977, Vern and Anita moved to Dallas, Texas. Vern worked with a nephew, repairing refrigerators and then worked for Desota High School as a custodian.
When Vern and Anita retired, they moved to Cedar Creek Lake area of Texas and enjoyed boating, fishing and exploring. In 1998, they moved to Hudson, Wyo., and thoroughly enjoyed the new adventures that awaited them here.
In December 2004, Anita passed away after 57 years of marriage. Beginning in 2005, at the age of 87, Vern diversified his traveling.
Every year since 1945, Vern had attended his all school Winside High School class reunion, was a lifetime member of the VFW and Legion Post 252 in Winside, so he continued his trips to Nebraska.
Every year starting in 2005, Vern made a trip to see his oldest daughter, Linda, spouse Art, and grandsons Kristopher and Allen Glaubitz. On his yearly Christmas adventures, the family participated in trips to San Diego, where he toured the Queen Mary ship that he made the voyage to Europe in 1945, New Orleans several times (World War II museum), a Mexican cruise, Arkansas, Missouri and many adventures within Texas.
The highlight of Vern’s later years travel was the Wyoming Honor Flight trip to Washington, D.C. It was a great honor to have been included in that spectacular adventure.
Even after Vern had a severe broken arm in November 2018, he entered Westward Heights Rehab Center with the goal of returning to his home in Hudson. We worked diligently to improve his quality of life. Even though he was rehabilitating at Westward Heights, he snuck in trips to Nebraska and Texas. He was thrilled to be asked by his grandson, Kris and fiancée Claudia, to be the ringbearer at their wedding in Dallas in January 2018, so Vern flew to Dallas to participate in the festivities.
For his 100th birthday party, Vern was honored to have 100 people share in the festivities. Vern loved people and loved life. He always had a positive attitude and wanted to make sure that everyone else was doing ok. His famous line was “May Your Day Get Better.” It wasn’t just a saying with Vern, he meant it.
Chris Vernon Nelsen was preceded in death by his parents, Chris Nelsen Jr. and Ella (McVay) Nelsen, and his spouse, Anita (Hintz) Nelsen. His children are Linda and Arthur Glaubitz of Irving, Texas, and Jullie Shull of Lander, Wyo. His grandsons are Kristopher and Claudia Glaubitz of Bethesda, Md., and Allen and Elspeth Glaubitz of Dallas. The Nebraska grandsons are Steven and Lisa Glaubitz, Mark and Jackie Glaubitz and Randy Glaubitz and great-grandson Nicholas. He also has a great-granddaughter, Amanda and Leo Harwager; and a great-great grandson, Dan.
Memorials are to be given to the Legion Post 252, Attn: Bud Neel, P.O. Box 194, Winside, NE 68790.
A lite lunch will follow the services at the Legion Hall in Winside.