Thomas Edgar Nelson    1925-2016

Thomas Edgar Nelson, 91, was born July 4, 1925 in Ruthven, Iowa, he passed away, November 25, 2016. He was the oldest of three sons born to Nels E. Nelson and Henryette Augusta Vogel Nelson. Tom graduated from Ruthven High School in 1943. Later that year he enlisted in the Navy where he served on a submarine in the Pacific as a radioman. In June 1946, after he was discharged from the Navy, he enrolled at Iowa State University earning his Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering in 1950. He worked in several Iowa communities as the county civil engineer. Upon his retirement in 1990, he moved to Chariton.

On March 30, 1964 Tom married Betty Baker Swanson, together they enjoyed many years of traveling the United States, taking special interest in visiting most of the presidential libraries. Tom and Betty loved entertaining family and friends in their home. Tom also enjoyed playing golf, bridge, reading and walking. Through the years, he was active in numerous clubs and organizations, volunteering whenever his services were needed.

During retirement Tom became hooked on wood carving and spent many happy hours carving with local friends and supplying the family with many treasured works of art, especially his Santa carvings.

Tom was preceded in death by both of his parents and two brothers, Arthur and Norman, and daughter in law, Shirley Swanson. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Betty, two step children, Tom Swanson and Linda Vredenburg (John) of Chariton. Five grandchildren, Stacy McWilliams (Steve) of Osceola, Jeff Swanson (Vicki) of Chariton, Zane Vredenburg (Angeline) of Urbandale, Ia., Colby Vredenburg (Nicole) of Coral Springs, Florida and Seth Vredenburg (Tara) of Portland, Oregon, and five great grandchildren. Special nephews and niece, Brock and Kevin Nelson and Kelly Curran, sister in law, Marge Richards of Newton and several other family members and friends.

Services were held 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, November 30, 2016 at Christian Church, Disciples of Christ in Chariton, Iowa. Interment was held in the Chariton Cemetery following services. Visitation and Gathering of family and friends was following interment at the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ. Memorials may be made to the Inter-Church Council Food Pantry, 410 S.7th St., Chariton Iowa or the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ. On-line condolences may be made at

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