LaVonne Nelson, Decorah, Iowa formerly of Clermont, Iowa, April 14, 2020

LaVonne Orva (Swenson) Nelson, 88, of Decorah, Iowa formerly of Clermont, Iowa, went to her eternal home on Tuesday, April 14, 2020. LaVonne was born September 12, 1931, the eldest of seven children born to Roy and Viola Swenson. After attending country school for six years she continued in town and graduated from Clermont High School with the class of 1949. LaVonne worked as secretary for the Superintendent of Schools and the School Board following graduation.

In August of 1951 she was married to Millard Nelson, Jr. at West Clermont Lutheran Church. To this union four children were born. LaVonne’s life was rich with faith, family, and farm. West Clermont Lutheran Church, where she was baptized, confirmed and married, was central to LaVonne’s life.She contributed to the church by teaching Sunday School, leading the Bethel Bible Study, playing piano, singing in the choir, and participating in the women’s circle and ladies aid groups. In the community LaVonne was active in the Fayette County Farm Bureau Women’s group, as a leader of the local 4-H club, and a member of the Postville PEO and Clermont Woodland Study clubs. She volunteered at area nursing homes, playing piano and visiting residents. LaVonne worked alongside Millard to build their family farm business in rural Clermont. Always proud to be a farm wife, she kept the business accounting books and also the day to day happenings which she recorded in her diaries of fifty years. She devoted much time and love to her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, encouraging their many interests and attending numerous activities, many of which were in music. She loved to bake and often provided them with bread and cookies. The family enjoyed many memorable vacations over the years, and have recently held annual reunions at camp EWALU.

During retirement she and Millard enjoyed square dancing and traveling. They traveled across the United States and abroad, often visiting friends they had hosted through exchange programs. In later years LaVonne and Millard traveled in their motorhome to Arizona and California where they renewed connections with family and friends during the winter months. Two special dogs, Lucky, a border collie and Pearl, a royal golden retriever, gave them much joy and companionship during these and the following years.

In 2014 LaVonne and Millard moved to Traditions Assisted Living Home in West Union. Since 2018 LaVonne has been at the Barthell Eastern Star Nursing Home in Decorah with Millard in the adjoining Arlin Falck Assisted Living Home.

LaVonne is survived by her husband, Millard Nelson, Decorah, Iowa; her children, Ann (Ron) Rowland of Des Moines, Linda (Mic) Martin of Decorah, Mark (Denise) Nelson of Clermont, and Laurie (Jim) Biedermann of Decorah; a foster son, Chuck (Donna) Mancil; siblings, JoAnn (Paul) Humphrey, LaVerne (Grace) Swenson, Robert (June) Swenson, Carol (Roger) Berg, Margie Appleman, and Bonnie (Doug) Stevens; grandchildren, Karin (Jason) Martin-Hiner, Carie (Cory) Fisher, Andrew (Valarie) Rowland, Claire (Matt) Thompson, Seth (Carrie) Rowland, Bridget Berns, Kirstin (Cody) Lerch, Scott (Mary) Biedermann, Nathan Rowland and Chad Nelson and twenty-six great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Roy and Viola Swenson; a grandson, Bryce Biedermann; a grandson-in-law, Brad Berns; brother’s-in-law, John Nelson, Doug Appleman, and George Dennis; sister-in-law, Judith Fossen; and two nephews-in-law, Thomas and James Fossen.

Due to state and federal guidance on gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the family will not be having a public memorial at this time.

A Memorial Service to celebrate LaVonne’s life will be held at a later date.

If you wish to donate in LaVonne’s memory, memorials may be directed to West Clermont Lutheran Church, the Millard and LaVonne Nelson Scholarship Fund at Luther College, Barthell’s OES Nursing Home, or a charity of your choice.

Schutte-Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service of Clermont, Iowa is serving the family.

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