Obituary – Dean and Norma Nelson


Dean Thomas Nelson

October 22, 1946 - June 24, 2019

Dean Thomas Nelson, 72, of Custer, Washington, passed away on June 24, 2019. Dean was born in Mankato, Minnesota October 22, 1946 to Cleo Nelson and Dorothy (Connelly) Nelson of Butternut Township, Lake Crystal, Minnesota. Dean grew up on his grandparents Tom & Ella Nelson’s farm where Dean helped farm 160 acres, and raised Holsteins, chickens, and pigs. Dean had a love for horses since he was young and was able to enjoy having several horses in his retirement. Dean graduated from Lake Crystal High School in 1964. He was actively involved in Butternut Boosters 4H club, he served as Class Officer, Student Council Officer, FFA Officer and Wrestling Team Co-Captain.

He attended Mankato State College in 1964-65 then worked for Kraft Foods prior to joining the U. S. Navy in 1966. Dean did two tours to Vietnam aboard the CVA 61, USS Ranger. He also did training missions with the Squadrons on carriers Enterprise, Oriskiny and a few others. Dean was discharged in March 1970 as a Petty Officer 3rd-Class (E-4), Aviation Storekeeper. After he was discharged from the Navy in 1970 Dean returned back to working at Kraft Foods. While Dean was an active serviceman he met the love of his life, Norma Gail Hurteau on March 3, 1967 at John’s Pizza Parlor in Vancouver, B.C. He would hitchhike from Oak Harbor, WA in his Navy uniform to Vancouver, B.C. to see Norma once a month.

Dean and Norma got married August 22, 1970 at Sacred Heart Church in Vancouver, B.C. and the rest as they say is history. They would spend the next 48+ years together, rarely spending a day apart. While in Minnesota Dean attended Mankato Technical school full time in the day and worked at Kraft Foods in the evening. Dean graduated from Mankato Technical School majoring in accounting and went to work for Continental Can in Mankato, MN as a timekeeper/cost clerk. In May of 1973 they moved west, and started a family. In September 1977 they were blessed with their first son, Nathan and three years later welcomed second son Aaron Nelson. While working at the Kirkland Post Office, Dean became the main carrier-clerk relief supervisor. On November 14, 1981 he became the Postmaster at Point Roberts. Dean retired from his Postmaster duties on December 31, 2001 retiring to their dream home in Custer, WA.

Dean is survived by his two sons, Nathan and Aaron (Kelly) Nelson, his grandson Owen Nelson, his brothers, Dick (Peggy) Nelson, David (Lynn) Nelson, Doug (Debbie) Nelson and sister Donna (Dale) Voges, his horse, Sugar, as well as many numerous nieces and nephews. Dean is preceded in death by his parents. Cleo and Dorothy Nelson (Connelly) and his wife of over 48 years, Norma Nelson (Hurteau) who passed away four weeks prior on May 28, 2019.

A celebration of life for Dean and Norma will be held Saturday, July 13 at their home at 2990 Creasy Road in Custer, WA. The open house celebration will be from noon to 3 p.m., with military honors at 1 p.m.


Norma Gail (Hurteau) Nelson

October 22, 1948 - May 28, 2019

Norma Gail (Hurteau) Nelson, 70, of Custer, WA, passed away on May 28, 2019. Born October 22, 1948 in Vancouver, B.C. to parents Norman & Aleta Hurteau. The youngest of three, Norma graduated from Britannia Secondary School in Vancouver, B.C. Norma spent many summers riding the train back to Saskatchewan to visit relatives.

She met the love of her life, Dean Thomas Nelson, a U.S. Navy serviceman, in March of 1967 at John’s Pizza Parlor in Vancouver, B.C. It was “the summer of love” and they learned that they both loved to dance and go camping and that they even shared the same birthday. They were married on August 22, 1970 at the Sacred Heart Church in Vancouver, B.C. and for the next 48+ years they rarely spent a day apart. The always practical Norma never shied away from adventure, spending her honeymoon tenting while they moved to Minnesota. In Minnesota, Norma worked as a bookkeeper and managed an apartment complex. After three years they returned west to Brier, WA. Norma was immediately hired to work for General Telephone Company. After welcoming two boys, they set down roots in Point Roberts for 20 years before retiring in Custer, WA. Resourceful, determined and practical, Norma enjoyed the simple pleasures – even if it was just her favorite soap opera.

She was famous for her award-winning apple pie and her contagious smile. Norma loved spending time with her “girls” Liz, Barb, and Deidre who she met in Tsawwassen. She and Dean enjoyed annual trips to Palm Springs and spent many weeks camping on the Oregon Coast.

Norma is survived by her sons, Nathan Nelson of Custer and Aaron (Kelly) Nelson of Everson, her “pride & joy” and only grandson Owen Nelson, her brothers Wallace (Evelyn) Hurteau and Fred (Donna) Hurteau as well as many numerous nieces and nephews.

A celebration of life for Norma and Dean, who passed away four weeks later, will be held at the family home in Custer, Washington on Saturday July 13, 2019 with an open house from noon to 3 p.m.


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