Ellen L. Nelson
Ellen L. Nelson, 101, of Sheridan, passed away on Sunday, December 15, 2019, at the Sheridan Manor.She was born October 16, 1918 to Helen M. Christy Kulesza and Alexander Anthony Kulesza on a ranch in Meade, OH and studied voice and piano at the Metropolitan School of Music there, and with two of her sisters owned a millinery studio. Alexander was born in Poland, coming to the United States at the age of 17 in 1884. He served 12 years with the United States Army. During the Spanish American War Era he fought in the War with Spain, the Philippine Insurrection, the War with Cuba, and the Occupation of Cuba. He was honoraby discharges in 1901. Ellen\'s parents were married in Cincinnati where their first son, Bernard was born. Alex traveled to the west where he filed a homestead claim 50 miles north of Rapid City on the prairies of South Dakota. Helen and the baby joined him as soon as he had their house built. Three more boys, Alvin, Richard, Elbert and a girl Ellen were born to them, all delivered by their father. Ellen\'s mother died of pneumonia when Ellen was 7 years old. Her father never remarried. He spent the rest of his 74 years raising his boys and his daughter. Ellen, Elbert and their dad moved to Michigan for a year, to Washington State for a yearand then back to the ranch and on to Rapid City where both siblings graduated from Rapid City High School.Ellen graduated from Rapid City High School in 1936. She spent one year at the Stella Weldon Secretarial School in Rapid City and two and one-half years in accounting at the Nettleton Commercial College (now Sioux Falls University) in Sioux Falls, SD. Her first job took her to Madison, SD where she managed the Book Store at Eastern State Normal School. She then was accepted in the accounting department of Packard Nash Auto Sales in Sioux Falls. Her employer sold that firm and purchased the Ford Agency there, where Ellen worked until she married Nels A. Nelson, Jr., her high school sweetheart, on October 15, 1941. Nels was enrolled at the South Dakota State School of Mines in Rapid City, when his father asked him to return to Sheridan as he had been awarded a large job.WW II started and work in the construction industry in Sheridan came to an abrupt halt. Ellen and Nels were hired at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Powell, WY. Nels was a Superintendent for the Job Manager and Ellen was in charge of the Payroll Department. They were both then sent on to Topeka, KS to start construction of the Winter General Hospital for the Army Engineers. Nels enlisted in the US Army Air Corp and was sent to the Embry Riddle School of Aviation in Miami. Ellen was with him through his training as an Electrical Specialist on Troop Carrier transport planes. He was assigned to the 13th Air Force-South Pacific, 63rd Troop Carrier Squadron, 403rd Troop Carrier Command as an Electrical Specialist to service the 18 C46 and C47 transport planes in the Unit. He served in seven different battle Campaigns over the 30 months he was there. Ellen returned to Sheridan and was asked to return to her employment with the Metcalf-Hamilton-Kansas City Bridge Co., to work on the building of an Air Base in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. She was to have her Physical Exam for work out of the U.S., pick up her passport and airline ticket, and report to Canada for work. The physical revealed that their first child, Nells III, was on the way. She returned to the family ranch.WWII ended and Nels was honorably discharged in 1945, and returned to the construction business with his father. Ellen and Nels built their home in Sheridan where two more boys were born, Brad and Brett. They enjoyed 75 years of marriage. In 1960, Ellen returned to work for N A Nelson Construction Co., retiring in 1992.Ellen has been a member of Trinity Lutheran Church for 72 years, choir member, Sunday School teacher, and served two six year terms as church secretary. She was a member of Creative Fiber Guild for 30 years, a former 30 year member of Sheridan Women\'s Club, and taught swimming in the Sheridan area for 26 years. She was an avid golfer, bowler, duplicate bridge player, and earned the rating of Expert Rifleman in her younger years. Cooking and sewing for her family was a delight to her. She loved her family and never could turn off the bragging about her grandchildren, Nicole and Brittany. Niki married Aaron Nash. They have a boy, Brody and girl, Ellie. Ellen\'s yard was always full of roses and flowers. Ellen was a China Painter, oil painter, also doing tole and watercolor. She loved sewing, photography, scrap booking and making greeting cards. Her wonderful husband became ill with Shingles in 1998. She cared for him until he was 98 years old and she was 97, at which time her health was failing and he was admitted into the care of the Sheridan VA Health Center.Ellen is survived by her sons, Nels III (Joylene) Nelson, Brad Nelson, Brett (Leanne) Nelson, grandchildren, Nicole (Aaron) Nash and Brittany Nelson, great grandchildren, Brogan, Brody and Ellie.Cremation and inurnment has taken place.Kane Funeral Home has been entrusted with local arrangements.