Bess Nelson (of Bark River) entered into her eternal life with her loving family at her bedside, at U.P Health Systems in Marquette, on February 3, 2017.
Bessie May Nelson was born August 23, 1935 in Sheldon Wisconsin, to Elmer and Laura Schwark. She was the second of 13 children. The family later moved to the “Jam Dam” Community where she was raised with her 12 siblings. She attended school in Powers Michigan. Bess obtained her GED diploma after her children were raised. She was a member of the Bark River United Methodist Church.
She was united in marriage to Nyle E. Nelson on October 16, 1954 in Escanaba, at St. Patrick’s Parish. They began to raise a family in Escanaba and then she and her husband Nyle moved to Vancouver Washington for 2 years prior to returning back to Escanaba. In 1968 they moved to Bark River, and have resided there since. She worked for a short time outside of the home at Robinson’s Furniture in Wilson, but her true chosen vocation was that of being a stay at home wife and mother benefiting her children, extended family and friends from that arrangement. She was actively involved in school PTA and Cub Scouts as a Den Mother for years.
She loved to tend to her gardens of vegetables and beautiful flowers. Bess was also creative, whether it was cooking, baking, sewing, knitting or crocheting for family and friends. She loved to sit on the deck, surrounded by nature. In her big old farm house there was always a place to sit and visit with loved ones. My “Wife” and our “Mother” was the “Matriarch” of our family. She had the gift to gather people and help to fill them spiritually. She would feed your spirit and your belly and you never left hungry. She always enjoyed her beloved pets through the years with the most recent being Molly.
Bess is survived by her husband, Nyle; sons, James (Deborah) Nelson, Jeffrey Nelson, Michael (Karey) Nelson and David Nelson; daughter, Kathryn (Steven) Vanlerberghe; grandchildren, Dana (Karen) VanEnkevort, Cory Nelson, Zaria Nelson, David Bellefeuille, Tyler (Krissa) Bellefeuille and Josh (Harlee) Bellefeuille; great grandchildren, Deric Deede, Devan Deede, Alexa VanEnkevort and Gabriel Sadler; siblings, Ronald (Joan) Schwark, James (Jeanne) Schwark and Ramona (James) McGraw. There are nieces and nephews too many to count and they all filled her heart. She loved God, family and friends.
Bess was preceded in death by her parents, Elmer and Laura Schwark; eight siblings, Ross Schwark, Eva Scott, Loren Schwark, Buck Schwark, Carol Wright, Donald Schwark, William Schwark and Kathleen Woodward; sister-in-law, Patricia Wickstrom and granddaughter, Natasha White Stark.
Bess enjoyed her monthly birthday club with her special friends Evelyn Gange, Cindy Betters, Rosie Crawford, Judy Mack, Judy Lutes, Marlene Harris and Judy Droska. She had ties to many people and was especially fond of her brother-in-law John (Chris) Duncan and cousin Joyce Hurthibise. She had a special relationship with her “adopted daughter” Irene White and her children, Nathaniel, Amelia and Katherine who she affectionately embraced as her grandchildren.
Family and friends may gather for their final earthly good-bye to Bessie on Saturday, February 11th, from 2 – 4 p.m. with services to follow at 4 p.m. at the Crawford Funeral Chapel in Bark River with Rev. Christine Bergquist officiating.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Delta County Cancer Alliance.
The Crawford Funeral Homes are assisting the Nelson family.