Jerry Dean Nelson Profile Photo
1952 Jerry 2023

Jerry Dean Nelson

July 24, 1952 — April 28, 2023

Spirit Lake - formerly of Spencer.

Jerry Dean Nelson was born July 24, 1952, in Spencer, Iowa to Stanley H. Nelson and Jean (Lanpher) Nelson. Jerry passed away on April 28, 2023, at Keelson Harbour in Spirit Lake, Iowa. Jerry married Candace Smith on March 30, 1973, in Terril, Iowa. The couple has two sons Thad and Josh.

Jerry resided as a youth in the Terril, Iowa community. He graduated from Terril High School in 1970. Jerry was a high school football player and wrestler. He attended Iowa Lakes Community College and then enlisted in the US Army in 1972. Following basic training Jerry served his country in Germany at Spangdahlem Air Base where he reached the rank of Specialist E Five and received The Army Commendation for Meritorious Service. He and Candie resided off base and in their free time traveled Europe in a Volkswagen station wagon for two years. After the service, Jerry and Candie returned to Terril where they farmed and raised their two boys. In 2005, they retired from farming, started Iowa Great Lakes Telephone with their son Josh, and moved to Spencer. They built a house on Big Spirit Lake in 2011 and spent the winters in Naples, FL.

Jerry was a member of the Terril United Methodist Church. He was an active member of the Terril American Legion Walsh Post 432 and became commander in 1988 to 1998. He was intent on celebrating his fellow veterans ultimate sacrifices through beautiful Memorial Day and flag dedication ceremonies at Fairview Cemetery and Terril school ceremonies on Veterans Day.

Jerry had numerous interests and passions. He enjoyed hunting, trapping, boating, swimming, fishing, and flying small planes. He and Candie travelled extensively together; visiting Europe several times and also Thad and Kristin in San Diego for both fun and work remodeling a kitchen. Jerry and Candie were able to see Josh and his wife Melissa frequently as they reside in the Spencer area. Jerry was especially proud of his grandson Jay and loved spending time with him. He enjoyed watching Jay compete with his horses and in archery tournaments. He searched out family history online and visited Norway to seek out family lineage. He taught his family a strong work ethic while working on the farm. He also demonstrated how to make hard work fun by having funny quips, sugary snacks, and at the end of the day hauling all that wanted to the lake for a dip.

Left to cherish his memory are his wife Candace Nelson, Spirit Lake, IA; his sons Thad (Kristin) Nelson, Seattle, WA and Josh (Melissa) Nelson, Spencer, IA; one grandson, Jay Nelson; Brothers E. Dean Jacobus, Seal Beach, CA; Doug (Deb) Nelson, Milford, IA; one sister Jeana (Tom) Ridder, Omaha, NE; and many other relatives and friends. Jerry was preceded in death by his grandparents Ole and Christine Nelson and Harvey and Gladys Lanpher; his parents Stanley and Jean Nelson; mother-in-law Marlene Reynolds and father-in-law Roger Smith; his younger brother Dale and his wife Bert Nelson.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in memory of Jerry to Iowa Great Lakes Lutheran School  or the Iowa chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association

You can live stream the service at:

To send flowers to the family in memory of Jerry Dean Nelson, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Wednesday, May 3, 2023

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Warner Funeral Home-Spencer

225 W 3rd St, Spencer, IA 51301

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Memorial Service

Thursday, May 4, 2023

Starts at 10:30 am (Central time)

Grace United Methodist Church

311 2nd Ave W, Spencer, IA 51301

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Graveside Service

Thursday, May 4, 2023

Starts at 1:30 pm (Central time)

Fairview Cemetery

Terril, IA 51364

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