Antique Vintage 04

Dorothy Elizabeth Nelson

August 31, 1927 ~ February 2, 2023 (age 95) 95 Years Old
Obituary Image


Dorothy (Dot) Elizabeth Nelson

Mom was born to hard working Swedish immigrants Abela & Karl Peterson in Palo Alto, CA on Aug. 31, 1927, and was welcomed by sister Barbara.  Times were hard in the Great Depression, when her father stacked green lumber in the mills at China Flat (near Kyburz, CA) and in the heat of Tuolumne, which lead to his early death when Mom was 10.  A wonderful step-father, Arthur Benson, stepped in to love and support the family.  She graduated Palo Alto HS, class of ‘45, as WWII was coming to an end.  A few years earlier, her Japanese girlfriends had to leave without saying good bye.  She had some great times with friends at Santa Cruz Beach and worked hard scooping ice cream at Dairy Dell in Palo Alto, before going to work at Hofman’s Jewelry Store.  Soon, she fell in love with a handsome, tan Merchant Marine, Albert Nelson, who was also born of Swedish immigrants. Dad, being shy, was introduced to Mom by his sister, Alvera.  Fun days were spent shore fishing, eating abalone, and enjoying the outdoors.  They married in April 1948 at the First Lutheran Church in Palo Alto, with Dorothy joining the large, happy, and very loving Nelson family.  Four years later Kristine was born.  With the help of family members, they were building a house in Los Altos Hills, with Mom on the roof nailing split redwood shingles until it was almost time to give birth to Paula.  Mom laid brick with her little toddler at her side.  She was a tough and talented woman.

In 1960 they pulled up stakes and moved to the Sierra foothills near Placerville, CA where they could raise their girls with chickens, pigeons, a huge garden and room to roam any direction on the horses.  Mom worked many years at Hangtown Hardware before moving to Placerville Hardware.  She did this while maintaining a home, an excellent garden and fixing delicious dinners served on time and hot, whether for 4 or 24 people.  She was on a bowling team and could out-fish most everyone in the Sierra streams and lakes.  Camping, fishing, and horseback riding were constants with Al and her girls.  With their great group of friends and the Nelson family, there were always parties, dances, and card games.  She was a founding member of the Hangtown Tennis group of ladies.  She enjoyed travels to Hawaii, Mexico, Europe with friends and special trips to NZ with Paula, and to Sweden with family members, to meet her dear aunts & cousins.

In 1992 Al passed away after a 15-year hard road with dementia.  Mom cared for him through most of it.  She decided it was time to sell the Placerville house and move to Darby, MT where daughter, Kris, was raising cattle and riding horses with husband Jake Reddin.  She packed up, even moving some of her garden plants.  There were new mountain vistas, fishing streams, horseback riding, and a new fun tennis group.  Winters were spent in Mesa, AZ playing tennis with yet another wonderful group and joining in on other fun activities.  Mom was a favorite doubles partner because of her mean serve.  She lived alone and cared for her Darby home and garden until finally moving in with Paula in 2020, continuing to cook fabulous meals and bake her great cookies at Christmas until she came down with RSV and pneumonia at the end of the year and passed away Feb. 2, 2023.

Dorothy was preceded in death by her dear husband Albert, parents Abela and Karl Peterson, step-father Arthur Benson, & sister Barbara (Syd) Bowling.  She is survived by daughter Kris and son-in-law Jake Reddin, daughter Paula, all of Darby, as well as numerous nephews and a niece, and grandnieces & nephews, too in CA, MI, AZ, CO and Sweden.

We wish to thank the wonderful Nurses, CNAs, PTs, Doctors, and so many others at Daly Hospital who provided caring medical support this past month, and to Nurse Barry from Hospice who helped us through this difficult time.  Also, we thank our friends and neighbors who have stepped up to support us.  Your caring attention really mattered.

Cremation was handled by Daly-Leach Chapel and no services are planned.  Remembrances would be appreciated by St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, Bitterroot Health Hospice, or a charity of your choice.

Mom was a talented, loving, fun, hardworking, caring, courageous person and the best mother ever.  She was an inspiration to all who knew her well and we encourage you to face the world as she did; with resolve, care, & kindness.  Condolences may be left for the family at 

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