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G. Edward Nelson

Nelson, G. Edward G. Edward Nelson, long-time East Aurora High School Band Director, passed away on March 3, 2013. He was 87. Born in Valley Junction, Iowa (now West Des Moines), on July 17, 1925, he was educated in the public schools of West Des Moines and East Moline, Illinois, where the family moved following Nelson's sophomore year in High School. He received his Bachelor's Degree from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois and his Master's Degree from the University of Iowa. Additional graduate work was done at the Vandercook School of Music, the Oberlin Conservatory, Northern Illinois University and the University of Wisconsin. His teaching career spanned thirty-seven years, starting in Rock Island in 1947, moving on to DeWitt, Iowa in 1950 and then to Aurora, Illinois in 1961. He retired following the 1984 school year. Nelson was also active as a performer and played French horn in the Tri-city Symphony in Davenport, Iowa from 1948 to 1961 and in the Fox Valley Symphony from 1961 to 1975. He also played in the Clinton, Iowa Orchestra during his teaching days in DeWitt, as well as subbing on occasion with the Cedar Rapids, Iowa Orchestra. In addition to his high school band conducting, he also directed the Musician's Union Band in Clinton, Iowa, and the Roosevelt-Aurora Legion Band in the mid sixties. Nelson belonged to numerous professional and educational organizations, including: the American School Band Directors Association, the National Band Association as well as state and national organizations of the Music Educators Conference. He was a Lifetime Member of the National Education Association and an Honorary Lifetime Member of the PTA. Ed is also a member of the Aurora Golden K. At the time of his death, Ed was a member of the New England Congregational Church. He served with the Marines in the Pacific and China during World War II and is a life member of both the American Legion and the Montgomery VFW Post 7452. Upon his retirement he frequently played Taps at Military funerals in the area. During his twenty-three years at East High, annual out-of-state Concert Tours were highlights, as well as the band being chosen to open the First International School for Bands in Switzerland in the summer of 1973. Upon his retirement, the band room at East High was named the "G. Edward Nelson Rehearsal Hall" and two scholarships are given to deserving students each spring. After retiring from teaching he held a part-time job for 14 years with Continental Colloids, Inc. of West Chicago, serving as the driver of their limousine. He retired from CCI in July of 2000. He was preceded in death by his parents, George H. and Minnie Nelson; three brothers, Ira, Everett and Hugh; five sisters, Ena Spain, Phyllis Frye, Burnice Gorr, Ruth Miller and Donna Clark; and two grandchildren, Meghan Bywater and Ryan Gilbert. He is survived by his wife, LuAnn; two daughters, Lori Nelson and Arla (Mike) Bywater of Texas; one son, Thron (Diana) Nelson of Bristol, IL; four step-sons, Greg (Julitta) Gilbert, of Millbrook, IL, Jeff (Laurel) Gilbert, Lance and Brian Gilbert all of Colorado; and eleven grandchildren. Also surviving are 8 great-grandchildren, several cousins, nieces and nephews. Family receiving guests Thursday, March 7th, 2013 from 4 to 8pm at Dieterle Memorial Home, 1120 Broadway, Montgomery IL. Funeral Service Friday 11am at New England Congregational Church, 406 W. Galena, Aurora IL. 60506. Interment private. All memorial gifts may be directed to the Music Dept. of New England Congregational Church. For directions and guestbook www.dieterlememorialhome.com 630-897-1196.
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Published in Beacon News on Mar. 6, 2013
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