Mildred Arlene Petersen Nelson

On the 14th of April 2017, Mildred Arlene Petersen Nelson finally returned to her home in heaven to be with her dearly departed husband, Roy Monroe Nelson.  At her side when she passed were her son Mark, beloved daughter-in-law and longtime companion Kathy, and her faithful grandson Michael Roy. Mildred was born  on February 20, 1921 in Lawrence, Kansas to parents Edward & Pearle Petersen. She had two sisters Dorothy and Vernice. She was a member of the Shawnee Mission North High School graduation class of 1937.

She met her future husband, Roy, a few short years later while working at Sears, Roebuck and Co. in Kansas City, Missouri. Mildred and Roy became a family during WWII, marrying on October 8, 1943 in Kansas City. Though they would return later to Kansas City to grow their family,  Roy was drafted into the U.S. Army and attained the rank of Staff Sergeant as they served their country from Louisville, Kentucky. Linda Gay was the first of their children to arrive. She would be followed by Carolyn Sue, John Concrite II, and finally Mark Alan.

In 1964, Mildred and Roy moved to LaHarpe, Illinois to realize their dream of rehabilitating the stately old farmhouse that had been in the Nelson family for generations. Mildred would later remark that days spent baking pies and raising children in that home were some of her happiest.

Roy passed away suddenly in 1971, and Mildred has awaited their reunion faithfully ever since. Mildred along with her youngest moved back to Kansas City in 1972. She took a job at Blue Ridge Bank where she would eventually rise to the capacity of Bank Officer over the next 20 years. Mildred’s work ethic was unsurpassed.

Mildred owned her home on Blue Ridge Blvd for 28 years. It was always spotless as was the half acre size lot it sat on. She took great pride in that home and in the fact she kept it up on her own. She would often vacation with her adoring daughter Carolyn’s family in Chicago as well as several unforgettable excursions to the Rocky Mountains with her adult children and ever-expanding brood of grandchildren and great grandchildren. She will always be remembered by her family as a very loving mother as well as a humble yet fiercely independent woman. She baked regularly into her 90’s and her homemade chocolate cake remains a favorite of her grandchildren.

She is preceded in death by her husband Roy Monroe Nelson and son John C. Nelson II.

She is survived by her three remaining children; Linda Gay Maddox, Carolyn Sue Gemkow (Tom), and Mark Alan Nelson (Kathy), her 19 grandchildren; Guy Geoffrey, Margot, Gregory, David, Michael, Daniel, Christopher, Patrick, Rebecca, Benjamin, Chad, Johnna, Katie, Erin, Ryan, Jacquelyn, Michael Roy, Lindsay, and Aimee, and 14 great-grandchildren; Leanna, Shane, Matthew, Johanna, Adam, Justine, Madelynn, Aspen, Macy, Reese, Ava, Chase, Charlotte, and Mateo.

Mildred is lovingly grieved by her widespread family. Her multi-generational reach may be best summed by the tears of her 8 year old great-grandson at the news of her passing and of course, by the dozens of hand-sewn, silk lined blankets and pillows clutched peacefully and securely by the sleeping hands of each child born into Mildred’s family over her 96 years.

A Memorial Gathering will be held on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 at Heartland Cremation & Burial Society from 10:00 A.M.-12:00 P.M. Please join us to celebrate Mildred’s life.


  1. John T Smith on April 18, 2017 at 8:09 pm

    Mr&Mrs. Mark Nelson, I’m so saddened to of the passing of your Mother. Know that you and your family are in my prayers. May the lord bless you guys for enternity. Love JT

  2. Tammy Jarmon on April 18, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    I was so blessed to know Mildred, she was not only a mother to her own children, but to our family as well. She will be missed.

  3. Kim Ballance on April 19, 2017 at 11:12 am

    It was a gift to know Mildred, for sure. She was a very dear person, always classy lady and she will always have a special place in my heart. I have her beloved chocolate sheet cake recipe, that she gave to me and suddenly I feel the need to make one, in her honor. Condolences to her surviving family, much love to many of them whom I know.

Leave a Condolence