Nels Peter Jorgensen was summoned home to his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on October 28, 2020, after a brief time in the hospital at the age of 94 years, eight months, and 25 days. Visitation will be held on Friday, November 6, 2020, from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM at First Baptist Church in Lake Benton, Minnesota. A funeral service will be on Saturday, November 7, 2020, at 10:30 AM at Singsaas Church in Brookings County, South Dakota. Interment will be at Memorial Hill Cemetery in Lake Benton. Hartquist Funeral Home – Lake Benton Chapel has been entrusted with arrangements.
Nels was born on February 3, 1926, to Iver and Marie Jorgensen at their farm in rural Arco, Minnesota. His birth name was Niels Peter Lund Jorgensen. From a youth, Nels enjoyed outdoor activities. He and his schoolmates would walk to the slough behind his parents’ farm to ice skate in the winter months. In summertime, he enjoyed softball and even spent some time boxing.
In 1945, the family house burned to the ground on Thanksgiving Day. At the same time, Iver suffered his first stroke and became less able in the farming operations. As a result, the draft board kept Nels out of the war effort so he could aid on the farm. Nels trusted Christ as his Savior on June 18, 1944, at an evangelistic meeting in Elkton where he attended with his best friend, Keith Clipper. Nels married Mary Ann Christensen on June 14, 1953. Mary Ann was a schoolteacher who taught in the one-room schoolhouse across the corner. While expecting their first child, the draft board gave notice that Nels should serve. He accepted that call, asking if he could report for duty after the end of the threshing season in August. Nels served in the U.S. Army for two years in love of his country. When Nels returned from the Army, he resumed his farming career as a crop and dairy farmer. On a spring day in 1968, Mary Ann and son, Ronnie, were killed in a car accident while out collecting for the Red Cross. Sons, Mike and Neal, were injured in the accident but survived. Nels’ mother, Marie, moved to the farm to help with the household and rearing of his children. She retired from that occupation when Nels married Margaret Ningen at the little church outside of the Blue Mound Inn in Luverne, Minnesota on September 26, 1981. In 1987, Nels and Margaret moved to her house in Hendricks, Minnesota. Nels made regular trips to the farm in his Mazda pick-up to help Mike in his farming. Nels enjoyed 28 years with Margaret, especially the fun they had with the families of Margaret’s sisters. He enjoyed social activities, especially Rook Club with many friends from Tyler, Lake Benton, Verdi, and Hendricks. After Margaret’s passing, Nels continued to deliver mail every Tuesday at the Hendricks Nursing Home and assist a few other widows with companionship and even a helping hand. Nels was compassionate about serving and caring for others. He was diligent in Bible study and memorization and practiced love for his neighbors.
Nels is survived by his daughter, Valerie (Gary) Van Dyke; sons, Michael (Kimberly) and Neal (Kristin); grandchildren, Rebecca (Jeremy) Knight, Steven (Michele) Van Dyke, Kevin (Hillary) Van Dyke, Bethany, Jessica (Scott) Cahrenger, Karolyn (Caleb) Boston, James (Victoria), Cynthia, Cherilyn (Nick) Emond, Janae, Jenessa, Melody, and Kenton; 11 great- grandchildren and an additional three on the way; sisters, Jeanette and Hope; and several people who felt a greater influence from him than their own parents or grandparents, because he cared for them like his own. Nels was preceded in death by his parents; wives, Mary Ann and Margaret; son, Ronnie; grandson, Manuel; sisters, Esther, Katherine, and Marietta; and all of his brothers-in-law.