Edward Hjalmar Nelson

Born June 21, 1937 in Lewisburg, PA | Died Sept. 28, 2021, Albany, New York


Ed “Swede” Nelson spent his first four years on the mission field in the remote jungles of China with his doctor and nurse parents. His father perished in an accident there, and his mother brought their three young children home, arriving to mainland U.S. through Pearl Harbor only weeks before it was bombed. He spent the next few years in Manitou Springs, Colorado, with his grandparents.

Ed was a budding disc jockey at Goshen (Indiana) High School, then pursued a degree in secondary education at ISU. He enlisted in the Army in 1958, trained as a radio communications specialist, was stationed near the DMZ at the Armed Forces Korea Network radio, and later served at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He returned to ISU in 1961 to complete his B.S./M.S. degrees.

Ed taught speech, debate and dramatics at Crawfordsville High School, 1963-1972, where his speech team won many titles. He moved the family to Mattoon, Illinois, to teach, and then to SIU where he earned a master’s degree in resource planning and management. Throughout his career, he held camp director, executive director and management positions, ending with five years as Professor of Speech Communications at Ivy Tech Lafayette.

In the early 1980s, Ed helped establish Zionsville Presbyterian Church, remaining involved there for many years.

Ed was predeceased by his beloved wife, Judith Hill Nelson, and his father and mother, Dr. Chet Nelson and Dorothy F. (Nelson) McFarland.

He is survived by brother, Dwight (Anna) Nelson; sister Carolyn McFarland; four daughters, Ingrid Nelson, Crawfordsville, Julie (Doug) Mark, Lebanon, Alisa (Jeff) Brummer, Fairview, Oregon, and Ericka (Brent) Howard, Valley Falls, New York; 10 grandchildren; many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.

A celebration of life will be held at a later date.