Marilyn Nelson

Born in Janesville, WI
Born on May 5, 1932
Departed on Apr 28, 2021

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Marilyn J. Nelson, 88, of Cedar Rapids, IA, died peacefully on Wednesday, April 28, 2021.  

Marilyn was born on May 5, 1932, in Janesville, Wisconsin, to Herbert and Jeannette Johnson.

Marilyn lived in Janesville, WI, except during the years of World War II when she lived with her family in Memphis, TN, and Cleveland, OH. She graduated from Janesville High School and attended University of Wisconsin at Madison, graduating with honors with a BS degree in English Education.  Marilyn taught English and Latin in Wausau, WI, immediately following graduation.  At the University of Wisconsin, Marilyn belonged to Eta Sigma Phi and Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women. 

On Jun 25, 1955, Marilyn married John Henning Nelson of Marinette, WI, and moved to Cedar Rapids, IA, where she taught English at Wilson and Jefferson High Schools in Cedar Rapids.  She continued graduate work in English Education at the University of Iowa.  

After she and John raised two sons, Marilyn returned to teaching English at Linn-Mar High School, Marion, IA.  

Marilyn was an active member of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church.  She participated in Stephen Ministry, was a member of the Anna-Naomi Circle, helped with the Church’s luncheons and Thrift Mart, and attended bible study.

Marilyn was a member of the Pi Beta Phi’s Cedar Rapids Alumnae Club, and P.E.O. (Philanthropic Educational Organization), Chapter LU.

Marilyn enjoyed being with her family, following her beloved grandchildren and their activities, reading, listening to operas, playing bridge, attending and/or watching all manner of sporting events, visiting with friends, and traveling with friends and family.

Survivors include two sons and their families: David (Robin) Nelson, Cedar Rapids, IA, and James (the late Colleen Shaughnessy) Nelson, Chicago, IL; and five beloved grandchildren: Katie, Benjamin, Emily, Colette, and Liam Nelson; a brother, Thomas (Ann) Johnson of Hickory, NC; a sister-in-law, Joanne Johnson of Beloit, WI; as well as nephews and cousins. 

Marilyn was preceded in death by her husband, John, her parents, her brother, Robert B. Johnson, and her daughter-in-law, Colleen Shaughnessy.

A memorial service will be held at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church at 11:00 A.M on May 21, 2021. Friends may greet the family at the church one hour preceding the service. The family asks that anyone attending please wear a mask and practice social distancing. A private interment was held at Cedar Memorial Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Marilyn’s name to St. Paul’s United Methodist Church or to a charity of the donor’s choice.

The family would like to thank the pastors at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, the nurses and staff at Mercy Medical Center, the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics, and the staff at the Dennis and Donna Oldorf Hospice House of Mercy for the compassionate and giving care that Marilyn received.