Franci Nelson, of Mora, passed away on Sunday, April 27, 2014 at her home in Mora. She was 66 years old.
MEMORIAL SERVICE will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Saturday, May 17, 2014 at Grace Lutheran Church in Mora. Dr. William Ankerberg will officiate.
MEMORIAL VISITATION will be from 4:00-8:00 P.M. on Friday, May 16th at Akkerman-Ingebrand Funeral Home in Mora.
After a courageous 3-year journey with breast cancer, Franci Nelson died Sunday, April 27 2014, at the age of 66 surrounded by love and family at her side.
Franci was born on August 23, 1947, in Mora, MN to Thelma and Norman De Witt. She attended the Mounds View school district until her junior year when the family moved back to Mora. Franci graduated from Mora High School in 1965 and then trained as a dental assistant at the University of Minnesota. Her marriage to Pete Nelson on June 11, 1966 in Mora, MN was blessed with two children, Matt and Sara.
She worked with her husband in the Nelson Variety family business for over 20 years. Her experience in the retail world equipped Franci for a new sales career and she hit the road as a sales rep. She thrived for over 15 years on the challenge of sales and the adventure of being on the road. She then moved into the travel industry and enjoyed a few years as a tour host.
Franci then hung up her travelling shoes. She grounded herself in her gardens with Pete at their riverfront home to start “Francine’s Flowers”, a business growing and selling lilies and hostas. Her love of gardening and especially lilies led her down many paths and she became active in the Town and Country Garden Club, North Star Lily Society, the North American Lily Society, and the Hosta and Iris Societies. She enjoyed competing in various Lily shows and her efforts paid off with many awards for the beautiful Martagon Lilies from their garden. She was recently given one of the highest honors through NALS, the Slate McDaniels Award. Franci’s passion for gardening and thorough knowledge of plants and flowers continued to bring her and others enormous joy until her very last days. Hospitality was at her core – the “hostess with the mostess”, Franci enjoyed nothing more than showing her love by cooking delicious food and taking care of family and friends wherever she found herself.
Franci’s faith and walk with God were an integral part of her entire life and over the years she served in numerous ministries within her church and the community. A highlight for Franci was her involvement in MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) as a “mentor mom”. Investing in the lives of young moms with her life experience and faith brought Franci great meaning.
Franci’s kindness and thoughtfulness never missed a moment to give back to someone in need. She touched many lives along the way and left her fingerprints on the hearts of many people.
She is preceded in death by her father Norman DeWitt, her parents-in-law, Ed and Alice Nelson and her grandparents Willis and Ruby Trupe and Marion and Ruby DeWitt.
Franci is survived by her husband, Pete; children, Matthew Nelson and fiancé Darcy Turner of St. Cloud, MN and Sara and Steve Caputo of Santa Barbara, CA; mother, Thelma DeWitt Olds (Elmer) of Mora, MN; sister, Arlie Ankerberg (Bill) of Whittier, CA; brother-in-law, Leonard Nelson (Janet) of Boynton Beach, FL; grandchildren Ben and Zack Caputo, and Morgan Turner; step-sisters Carol Reynolds (Randy) and Jo Ellen Kastenbauer (Jim); nieces and nephews, Beth (Chad) Miller of Whittier, CA; Becky (David B) Ankerberg of Menlo Park, CA; Peter (Amy) Ankerberg of La Habra, CA; and great nieces and nephews Avery, Grant, and Noelle Miller, and Courtney and Alyson Ankerberg.