H. Wayne Nelson, 88, of Farmington, Iowa, went to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Tuesday, December 1, 2020, at Donnellson Health Center in Donnellson, Iowa.
Wayne was born on October 31, 1932, on the family farm near Fairfield, Iowa, the son of Vern Stacy and Neva I. (Davison) Nelson. On September 26, 1952, he was united in marriage to Gwen M. Nelson at the Methodist Church in Fairfield, Iowa. She preceded him in death on November 18, 2014.
Wayne graduated from Fairfield High School and went on to receive his undergraduate degree from Parsons College in Fairfield where he played football and basketball, and ultimately earned his graduate degree from the University of Iowa. Wayne proudly served his country in the United States Army during the Korean War, and played on the All Army Basketball Team.
He began his insurance career with New York Life Insurance in June of 1958, officially retiring in November of 2019. Wayne was a giant in his communities, both figuratively and literally. He served on the Trinity United Methodist Church Board in Keokuk (where he was a faithful member for many years) and the Hoerner YMCA Board, where he dominated the racquetball courts, playing the sport until he was seventy-eight. His racquetball skills even made him the Racquetball Masters Champion. He also played in the men’s basketball league at the YMCA until he was fifty-five. Wayne served as president of the Keokuk Kiwanis Club and the Society for Academic Achievement, serving for twenty-five years and handling awards for the Keokuk and Harmony Schools.
Outside of work, Wayne led a rich and rewarding life. He was an avid hunter and classic car enthusiast, traveling around to car shows and touring Iowa with the “Motorers of Iowa”. He loved sports, always rooting for the Chicago Cubs and the Iowa Hawkeyes. He was also a loyal supporter of the Keokuk High School Athletics. Wayne never knew a stranger, and you could always tell if he drove by, either by the custom license plate “5ft18” or the hand waving at you through the sunroof. Despite his professional and personal accomplishments, nothing was more important to Wayne than his grandchildren. He was a devoted grandfather, and never missed any of his grandchildren’s events. He will be deeply missed by his family and the community.
Wayne is survived by his daughter Lori (Gene) Kinkeade of Keokuk; two granddaughters: Tasha R. (Brandon Carroll) Goble of Davenport, Iowa, and Tara A. (Termale) Tellis of Burlington, Iowa; three great-grandchildren: Tayjuah, Kilee and Camden Peoples, all of Burlington; his sister Verna Baccus of Los Alamitos, California, and several nieces, nephews and cousins.
Wayne is preceded in death by his parents, his wife Gwen, his grandson Stacy Kinkeade and his sister Irma Skaggs.
Wayne’s life will be celebrated with a funeral service at 11 am on Thursday, December 10, 2020, at DeJong-Greaves-Printy Funeral Home in Keokuk, with burial to follow at the Keokuk National Cemetery. Military Honors will be rendered by the American Legion Post #41 and the United States Army. Visitation will be held on Wednesday from noon to 8 pm with immediate family meeting friends from 2 to 8 pm. Due to Covid-19, only 15 people are allowed in the building at a time during visitation. For the safety of those attending, masks must be worn and social distancing must be practiced for both the visitation and funeral.
For those unable to attend, the funeral service will be streamed via Facebook Live at the DeJong-Greaves-Printy Facebook page.
Memorials may be directed to the Hoerner YMCA or Trinity United Methodist Church in Keokuk.
Tributes and condolences may be left at www.dejongsfuneralhome.com.
DeJong-Greaves-Printy Funeral Home of Keokuk, Iowa, is in charge of arrangements.