Wesley Ivan Nelson, age 93, of Kenosha (formerly Whitewater), passed away on January 12, 2020 at Manor Care in Kenosha. He was born on October 31, 1926 in Milwaukee, WI to Harold S. and Neva (Ridge) Nelson.
Wesley graduated Whitewater High School in 1945, and then the University of Wisconsin-Madison/WALSA in 1950 with a degree in Agriculture.
He was a member of 1st United Methodist Church in Whitewater since 1939, which is where he and his future wife, Wava Jean met in 1946, and they were married on June 18, 1950 in Reedsburg WI. Wesley ran the family farm from 1950 – 1959; he was the 3rd generation family farmer on the Clover Valley Road farm. After the farm, Wesley worked at the University of Whitewater as the Grounds Supervisor from 1960 – 1982, then at the City of Whitewater as the Facilities Supervisor from 1982 – 1987. After retiring in 1987, he volunteered at the Rock River Thresheree in Edgerton WI. Wesley and Wava Jean moved to town in 1959 and resided in the same home on Highland Street until moving to Kenosha in 2015.
He excelled in music his entire life, playing the tuba since the age of 10 until the early 1980’s. As a high school student he took 1st place at the National Solo & Ensemble competition in Minnesota beating out 80 other tuba players. Also while in high school he performed a duet during a concert with legendary trumpeter, Herbert L. Clarke and later in life played in dance bands, local polka bands (including being an original member of the famed Whitewater Booster Band), and recorded with various bands including saxophonist, Boots Randolph.
Wesley loved woodworking, gardening flowers and vegetables, the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers, Wisconsin Badgers, and attending all football, basketball and baseball games at UW-Whitewater rooting on his beloved Warhawks.
Wesley liked being involved in the community; when he was younger he was a member of the Whitewater and LaGrange 4-H clubs starting in 1937; at the age of 15 he won the American Horse and Mule Association Award for showing his 1st place prize-winning Belgian Horse “King.” He was a committee member/merit badge counselor for the Boy Scout Troop #173 in Whitewater, a member of the Janesville Barbershop Chorus from 1948-2012; in 1988 he won Barbershopper of the year, and he was a part of the 1957-1958 International Barbershop Championship Chorus.
He is survived by his wife, Wava Jean Nelson of Kenosha (formerly Whitewater); son, Scott (Geri) Nelson of Lake Villa, IL; grandson, Benjamin Nelson of Germantown, WI; granddaughter, Elaina Nelson of Charleston, IL; and brother, Wilbur “Rocky” Nelson of San Antonio, TX. He is preceded in death by his parents.
Funeral Services will be held at 12:00 noon on Saturday, January 25, 2020 at the Nitardy Funeral Home in Whitewater, 550 N. Newcomb St., Whitewater, WI 53190, with the Rev. Susan Bresser officiating. Burial will follow at Hillside Cemetery in Whitewater. Visitation will be held on Saturday, January 25, 2020 from 10:00 a.m. until the time of service.
Nitardy Funeral Home is assisting the family. www.nitardyfuneralhome.com