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July 24, 2021

7/9/2021 8:28:00 AM
Nelson, James Robert "Jim"

James Robert "Jim" Nelson, age 90, passed away on Tuesday, July 6, 2021, at Greenway Manor. He was born on Jan. 1, 1931, to Carl and Alice (Norton) Nelson.

Jim attended a one-room grade school in Starks, Wis., and high school in Rhinelander, Wis. He was an outstanding baseball player. He played for Rhinelander High School, American Legion, Beale AFB, Grass Valley Braves in CA, UW-Whitewater and the Rhinelander Shorties Semi-Pro team (Hodags). He began playing shortstop for the Shorties when he was 16 years old. He was an All-Star for the Rhinelander Shorties, BAFB, and Grass Valley Braves. Jim was elected the most valuable player for the Grass Valley Team, and though he could play any position, SS was his love. He was also an excellent basketball player for the BAFB team. Jim was scouted by the Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox. He was also offered basketball scholarships and bowled a 680.

Jim also boxed at Marshfield in the Golden Gloves and did much boxing while in the military. He served proudly in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. He trained under the 82nd Airborne, Fort Sam in Houston, Texas, and he was a surgical technician in the Medical Corps. He served from 1951-1955, and he cared for many veterans who were in need.

Through the GI bill, Jim graduated from UW-Whitewater in 1960 with a business education degree. He began teaching in Barneveld in 1960. Jim married Ardith Penshorn on June 8, 1963. They had two sons who are both educators and wrestling coaches. Jim graduated from UW-Madison in 1969 with a master's degree in educational administration. Jim went on to become principal and superintendent at Barneveld from 1967-1970, and also served as superintendent at Monticello and Argyle. Jim then became Dean of Instructional Support at SW Tech from 1974-1993. Jim was an admired teacher, coach, and administrator and earned multiple honors. He worked with many handicapped and disadvantaged adults. While Jim was at Barneveld, he coached four sports: baseball, football, basketball, and wrestling. Jim was a member of Barneveld Lutheran Church and was Chaplain for American Legion Post No. 433. Jim loved to sing with his wife, Ardy, and their friends.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents; and brothers, Bill, Sam and Fred, all of whom served in the military. Jim's dad served in World War I in the U.S. Navy, lying to enter the military at age 16. He is further preceded in death by his brother-in-law, Bob Anderson.

Jim is survived by his wife of 58 years, Ardy; sons, Clay (Rachel) and Jimmy (Dawn); grandchildren, Ryan, Katie, Matt, Tyler, and Kim; sisters, Gloria Anderson and Mary (Jerry) Stahl; and sisters-in-law, Barb Nelson and Pat Penshorn.

A memorial service will be held at BARNEVELD LUTHERAN CHURCH, 505 Swiss Lane, Barneveld, at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 17, 2021, with the Rev. Erich Hartenberger presiding. Burial will take place at Blue Mounds Cemetery. Visitation will be held at the church from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Friday, July 16, 2021, and also from 10 a.m. until the start of the service on Saturday.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the family of Jim to be designated at a later date. Online condolences may be made at

Gunderson Camacho
Mount Horeb
Funeral & Cremation Care
500 N. Eighth St.
(608) 437-5077

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