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Johnson, Nels
B: 08 Mar 1883, a hardy "Jamtlening" Swede. He was the last of a family of four born to Mr. & Mrs. John Johnson. His father changed his name to Sweberg as an immigrant. Nels came to Kittson County at the age of 10 and spent a great number of years in Lake Bronson and community. His parents homesteaded in Hazelton Township where they operated a small diversified farm for many years.

He served as Mayor of Lake Bronson when the town was young.


Lake Bronson, Minn. - Earl Nelson, 85, rural Lake Bronson, MN passed away at the Christus VNA Hospice in San Antonio, TX on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2008.

Earl was born in the family home in Hazelton Township on Oct. 1, 1922 to Nels and Nellie (Johnson) Nelson. Growing up, he enjoyed fishing, hunting and trapping. He graduated from 8th grade in Hazelton School. He joined the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) and was stationed at Middle River as a Hospital Orderly for six months. He graduated from Crookston Agricultural College in 1943.

In 1946 he enlisted in the Army. After Boot Camp at Fort Bragg, Tenn., he was shipped to occupied Japan where he served as an MP. On his way from Yokahoma to Beppu, the train was stalled for a period of time so many of the soldiers got out and walked around Hiroshima. He said it was like a ghost town. There were no people and nothing was growing. After the Army, he returned home to farm in the summers. He worked out of state in the winters in Texas (on an oil rig), Florida (shrimp Fishing) and then for several winters in Seattle working for various companies including Boeing.

Dec. 27, 1958 he married Audrey (Soderfelt) Gustavson. After an extended Honeymoon in Seattle, Wash., Earl and Audrey settled on the family farm, farming for many years. Earl also worked at American Crystal Sugar in Drayton, ND for a number of winters. Since 1996, Earl had spent winters in San Antonio, Texas.

He loved to travel (Sweden, Jamaica, Hawaii and all over the lower 48 states), grow lots of flowers and feed the birds. He really enjoyed his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Earl will be remembered also for his Spaghetti and card parties. He was full of life and really appreciated his family and friends. Earl was a member of Zion Lutheran Church in Lake Bronson..

Family members include his wife, Audrey; a son, Bruce (Lynnette) Nelson of rural St. Hilaire; two daughters -Julie (Dave) Helm of rural Thief River Falls and Janet (Richard Bjorlie) Johnson of San Antonio, Texas, one brother: Leo (MaryAnn) Nelson of Seattle, Wash., two sisters: June (Jack) Moore, Seattle, Wash. and Avis (George) Fricker of Minneapolis; grandchildren Chandra Misson, Brandon Nelson, Bryn Nelson, Jesse Helm, Brandy Helm, Jon (Nicole) Gustavson, Jennifer (James) Rowley and Melissa Thorstad; eight great-grandchildren, several nieces and nephews.