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James Bertil Nelson

February 13, 1938 ~ May 19, 2022 (age 84)

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James (Jim) Bertil Nelson, 84, of Tower, Minnesota, died Thursday, May 19, 2022, at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth, Minnesota.


Jim was born February 13, 1938, at home in Cook, Minnesota, to Victor and Jennie (Gustafson Jackson) Nelson. He graduated from Cook High School in 1956 and from Virginia Junior College in 1958.


Jim married Jeanne Thibado in 1958. The Nelsons moved to Menomonie, Wisconsin, and Jim graduated from Stout State College in 1961 with a degree in industrial education. The family relocated to the Twin Cities, where Jim worked for IBM. He later co-owned Wybrite, a business that serviced IBM machines. Jim, Jeanne, and their sons lived in Mounds View until 1976. They moved to Pike Bay on Lake Vermilion, and Jim was the proprietor of Nelson’s Hardware in Tower from 1977 to 2002.


Jim married Jacqueline Coplin in 1997, and they continued to live on Lake Vermilion. Jim was known as Papa Jim to Jacqueline’s family.


Active until his last days, Jim was always busy with many hobbies and projects. Jim loved fishing, hunting, and snowmobiling, and was often working on a boat, four-wheeler, tractor, or truck. He was known to fix, reuse, and save just about anything, even if replacing it would be more convenient. Jim built remote control airplanes before obtaining his pilot’s license and flew a Piper Cub until his early 80s.


Jim excelled at basketball and track in high school and in college. He enjoyed watching Cook/North Woods High School and Minnesota Vikings games, along with his grandchildren’s sports and activities.


Jim is survived by sons and stepsons: Steven (Leann Barsness) Nelson, Greg (Debra) Nelson, Brian (Dana) Nelson, Tac (Anjie) Coplin, and Wade (Kara) Coplin; grandchildren and step-grandchildren: Brianna (Amanda Rolling) Nelson, Trevor (Allisen Keith) Nelson, Tucker (Ashley) Nelson, Bailee (Cody) Gores, Booker and Jaley Coplin, Shelby and Jennie Nelson, Calvin and Aurora Coplin; great-grandsons: Jaxon and Chase Tankersley and Charles Walkama; sister-in-law Karon Nelson; nephews: Paul and Eric Nelson; former spouse Jeanne Peterson; special friend Judi Anderson; and extended family.


He was preceded in death by his wife Jacqueline Coplin Nelson, parents, brother John Nelson, half-sister Edna May Jackson, sons: James Jr. (Jimmy) and Tucker Nelson, grandson Colby Nelson, brother-in-law Willis Thibado Jr., and mother-in-law Marie Thibado, as well as aunts, uncles, and cousins.


Jim’s funeral service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 4, 2022, at St. Martin’s Catholic Church in Tower. Pastor Liz Cheney will officiate. A gathering for family and friends will begin one hour prior to the service. Inurnment will be at Hillside Cemetery in Minneapolis.


Family Services provided by Bauman-Vermilion, A Bauman Family Funeral Home in Tower. To share condolences online, please see: .

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Gathering of Family and Friends
June 4, 2022

1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
St. Martin's Catholic Church
107 N. 3rd Street
Tower, MN 55790

Memorial Service
June 4, 2022

2:00 PM
St. Martin's Catholic Church
107 N. 3rd Street
Tower, MN 55790

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