Thelma Nelson-Dolan


Thelma L. Nelson-Dolan, 86, of Brookings, died Sunday, May 22, 2011 at Stoney Brook Suites in Brookings. Memorial services were 10:30 a.m. Thursday, May 26, 2011 at Ascension Lutheran Church, Brookings. Graveside services were at 3 p.m. Thursday, May 26, 2011 at Dalesburg Lutheran Cemetery, Dalesburg. Memorial visitation was from 9 a.m. until the time of the service at Ascension Lutheran Church, Brookings. Rudes Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your masters happiness. (Mt 25:23). Thelma was a follower of Jesus Christ; a good and faithful servant. She now enjoys the joy of the Lord.

Thelma Nelson-Dolan lived most of her life in Brookings County, on the farm, in the classroom, and on main street. Her life spanned the Great Depression, World War II, the advent of rural electricity and microwaves, mini-vans, and emails.

Thelma was born on August 14, 1924 in Potter County, SD to Henry and Agnes Vandersluis. The family moved to Brookings County when she was 4 years old. Thelma lived on farms south of Brookings and then east of town. She graduated from Brookings High School in 1942, and attended General Beadle State Teachers College in Madison, receiving a teaching certificate. Thelma taught rural school east of Brookings until 1950 when she married Fred Nelson of Clay County. She moved to the Nelson farm east of Wakonda where they farmed until Freds death in 1968. Thelma and Fred Nelson had three children: Valerie Lois (Strandell), Mary Kay (Spearman), and Van Peter.

Thelma returned to Brookings in 1969, along with her children of 15, 13, and 8 years old. Thelma worked as a teachers aide in the Brookings middle school for several years, and later worked in retail stores on Main Street for many years. All three children graduated from Brookings High School and went on to graduate from college.

In 1993 Thelma married Norbert Dolan of Flandreau. Thelma and Norbert lived in Brookings for many years, eventually living in Brookhaven. After Norberts passing in December 2009, Thelma moved to StoneyBrook Suites.

Thelma is preceded in death by her parents; husbands, Fred and Norbert; her sister, Phyllis (Johnson)Tweedell; brothers, Rolland and John Henry; dear niece, Jan (Harshfield) Wilson and many friends.

She is survived by daughters, Valerie and Mary; son, Peter; sister, Trudy (Harshfield) Thompson; as well as grandchildren, Angela (Strandell) Edwards, Kathryn Strandell, Sara Spearman, David Spearman, Eli Nelson and Ellen Nelson and many whose lives she has touched.

Thelmas God-given gifts included teaching, encouragement, hospitality, discernment and knowledge. She made the world a better place for her family and those around her. She was dearly loved and appreciated. She taught us well; she loved us well.

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