Richard D. Nelles


Richard D. Nelles, age 83, of Outing and formerly of Princeton, passed away on Saturday, January 11, 2020 at Sterling Pointe Senior Living in Princeton from complications of Alzheimers. He was born on May 16, 1936 in Dayton, the son of Clemens “Clem” and Leone (Batterberry) Nelles. He graduated from Elk River High School in 1954 and served in the U.S. Air Force for five years. In the service, he worked as a boom operator on a KC 97 inflight refueler. Richard married Joan Johnson of Elk River on December 28, 1955 and they were married for 25 years. Together they had five sons, Bryan, Brad, Bruce, Dave and Cary. After the service, he began a long career as a State Farm Insurance agent in Princeton. He retired after more than 30 years and moved to Washburn Lake in Outing. At his home on Washburn Lake, he was most often in the woods “managing the forest for timber and wildlife.” Richard was active in Firearms Safety Training for area youth for 40 years and was honored twice as Firearms Safety Instructor of the Year. He was also active in the Lions Club for nearly 50 years along with other organizations. During retirement, Richard enjoyed volunteering for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources – Forest Wildlife Populations and Research Group out of Grand Rapids. He assisted with the trapping and radio collaring for research purposes of whitetail deer, fishers and wolves. He did this for many years, making many friends and very much enjoyed working with the interns, graduate students and biologists. During his life, he enjoyed flying his 1969 Cessna 150, hunting, fishing and taking trips to Canada. He is survived by four sons, Brad (Dawn) Nelles of Milaca, Bruce (Patti) Nelles of Milaca, Dave (Kim) Nelles of Cambridge and Cary (Becki) Nelles of Ashland, WI; seven grandchildren, Michael (Andriea) Nelles of Plainwell, MI, Emma and Zachary Nelles of Milaca, Matt (Ashlee) Nelles of Watertown, SD, Ashley (Tyler Madill) Nelles of Duluth, Savannah and Kaleigh Nelles of Duluth; two great-grandchildren, Thea and Asher Nelles; three sisters, Kate Whitney and Ellen Leger both of Emily, MN, Maureen McNaughton of St. Cloud and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; eldest son, Bryan; former wife, Joan and many good hunting dogs. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m., Thursday, January 16, 2020 at the Christ Our Light Catholic Church, 804 7th Ave. South, Princeton, MN 55371, with Fr. Kevin Anderson officiating. Visitation will be from 10-11 a.m., Thursday at church. Casual dress is preferred. Burial will take place at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery in Little Falls at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred and will be used towards Youth Firearms Safety Training programs in Minnesota. They can be mailed to Cary Nelles, 61318 Olby Road, Ashland, WI 54806.

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