Cover photo for Audrey J. Nelson's Obituary
Audrey J. Nelson Profile Photo
1940 Audrey 2016

Audrey J. Nelson

October 2, 1940 — November 1, 2016

Audrey Joanne Nelson, age 76, of Coon Valley, died Tuesday, Nov 1, 2016, at Brookdale Senior Living in La Crosse.

She was born October 2, 1940, at La Crosse Hospital in La Crosse, WI to Arthur Olaf Gronvold and Tilla Josephine (Strangstadlien) Gronvold. She was baptized on October 27, 1940 by Pastor Harold Bach and was confirmed on May 22, 1955 by Pastor Harold T. Masted, both at Upper Coon Valley Lutheran Church. She graduated from Erickson Grade School on May 14, 1954, and she graduated from Westby High School on May 30, 1958. She attended Vocational School in La Crosse (secretarial course) from September 1958 until March 1959. On Dec. 3, 1966, she married Ernest N. Nelson at Coon Valley Lutheran Church by Pastor R. J. Vevle.

Audrey worked at Trane Company in La Crosse from March 1959 until May 1968. At that time, she chose to leave Trane Company so that she could stay at home and raise her family. When her children were older, she worked a few years at Viroqua Leaf Tobacco Co from 1982 through 1984. Once her oldest child obtained his driver's license, she began her career at Coon Valley Kwik Trip from September 1984 to December 2005, when she retired.

Audrey was a lifelong member of the Coon Valley Lutheran Church, serving on WELCA, South Ridge Circle, and the funeral committee. Throughout her life, her faith was her rock. She was a lifetime member of the Coon Valley American Legion Auxiliary Unit 116, throughout which time she held many offices. She was most proud of when she served as President, while her husband served as American Legion Post 116 Commander and son, Scott, served as Sons of the American Legion (SAL) Commander.

She supported her husband's music career as leader of the Colonial Playboys, and she often brought their children along to dances because she wanted them to learn to dance and appreciate old-time music. She greatly enjoyed supporting her children and grandchildren in all their school activities, including watching concerts, parades, and other extra-curricular pursuits. Audrey loved having her grandchildren at her house, and she was able to share the things she loved with them. She was passionate about her beautiful flower gardens and houseplants, and she cherished the memories they held.

Surviving are her children, Charles (Kim) Nelson of Coon Valley and Julie Nelson (Gary Grethel) of Coon Valley; grandchildren, Devin and Bianca Nelson and Madeline, Margaret and Isabella Grethel; four sisters, Helen Semke, Evelyn Dahlen and Janice Haugstad all of La Crosse, Thelma Helgeson of Stoddard; and a brother, Gilman (Jean) Gronvold of Coon Valley; and many sisters and brothers-in-laws, nieces and nephews.

Also very important to her was her husband's son, Mark (Marilee) Forsberg of St. Paul, Minn., and their children Michelle and Joseph, and Michelle's son Nicklaus.

Audrey was preceded in death by her husband, Ernest Nelson, on January 22, 2010 and by one son, SPC Scott Nelson, on July 1, 1989. The death of Scott was devastating, but her unwavering faith led her through that and all other challenges in life. Audrey was also preceded in death by her parents; a brother, Olaf Gronvold, a sister who died in infancy; and many other extended family.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Monday November 7, 2016 at the Coon Valley Lutheran Church with the Rev. Mitzi Miyamoto officiating. Burial will be in the church cemetery.

Friends may call on Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Seland Funeral Home in Coon Valley and at the church on Monday from 10 a.m. until the time of service. Online condolences at

A special thank-you to the staff at Gundersen Health System, Hillview, Brookdale and Gundersen Hospice for their excellent care and compassion. Also thank-you to the many family and friends who visited Audrey and kept her in your prayers. In lieu of thank-you notes and flowers, Audrey's family plans to use all memorials towards organizations close to her, including Coon Valley American Legion Auxiliary, Coon Valley Lutheran Church, and Coon Valley First Responders.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Audrey J. Nelson, please visit our flower store.


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