Harry E. Nelson

Resided in Cornell, MI
Died May 24, 2021

Harry E. Nelson, 73, passed away on May 24, 2021 with his wife Kim by his side.

Harry was born September 24, 1947, in Escanaba, and spent his formative years in Cornell. After graduating from Escanaba High School in 1965, he achieved a BA in Art Education from Northern Michigan University, in 1969. Upon returning to Escanaba, Harry met and fell in love with Kim Sturdy. They were married on August 3, 1974 and went on to enjoy nearly 47 years of marriage.

Harry dedicated his life to enrichment in art, music, and literature.

In addition to his career as an educator, Harry helped many students, including his last guitar student, Hannah Veeser, find their love of the arts through private lessons.

You will find Harry’s art throughout the homes and in the hearts of his many family members and friends. A natural educator, Harry could teach you valuable lessons even when you didn’t realize you were learning.

Beyond his mastery of the arts, Harry was also a skilled craftsman and avid collector. He will be fondly remembered for his hand-built structures as well as his unique assortment of antiques and curiosities.

Always humble and always kind, Harry continues to inspire us all.

Harry is survived by his wife, Kim; son: John (Colleen) Nelson; granddaughters: Delaney and Alana Nelson; brothers: Tom (Avis) Nelson and Richard Nelson; sisters-in-law: Kris (Mike) Wiley, Karen (Jeff) Marcoe, Karla Beauchamp, Kelly (Ed Ridenhour) Sturdy, Kenlyn (Jim Tillison) Hubbard, Kara (Mark Skorski) Sturdy, Kandace (Mike) McCarthy; brothers- in-law: Steve (Sandy) Sturdy, John (Becky) Sturdy, and Lynn Collins. Also surviving are many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

In addition to his parents, Elmer and Evelyn Nelson, Harry was preceded in death by his infant brother, Roy Nelson; sister-in-law, Kathy Collins; brothers-in-law, Scott Hubbard and Mike Beauchamp; and nephew, Chris Collins.

Our family would like to thank all of the dedicated health care professionals at the University of Michigan, UP Health System, Green Bay Oncology, and OSF Hospice.

Harry’s family will receive friends on Thursday June 3, 2021, from 4:00PM to 7:00PM, at the Skradski Family Funeral Home in Escanaba. Vigil Prayers will be conducted at 7:00PM. Mass of Christian Burial will follow on Friday June 4, 2021, at 11:00AM, at St. Anthony Church in Wells, with Rev. Fr. Rick Courier officiating. The Skradski Family Funeral Homes of Delta County are assisting with arrangements.

38 Tributes for “Harry E. Nelson

    Kim, my deepest sympathy to you and your family. It makes no difference if a loved one is sick or dies suddenly, the passing away is just as hard to bear. Harry was a good man, a talented man, and one God wanted home with him. The talents in music that Harry was given from God, is now being utilized in Harry’s Eternal Life. I do not doubt that Harry is watching over you and your family, protecting you. When I was spared getting hurt when the bathroom mirror came down in my bathroom, I believe Craig was watching over me and told me to get out of the bathroom when I did. May the memories you have together help bring comfort to your sadness and put a smile on your face. You will be in thought and prayer.

    He was the best man I ever knew and the greatest father a kid could ever ask for. Love you and miss you dad. Today, tomorrow, always.

    Oh Kim

    We are so sorry. We have always enjoyed the company of Harry (and you!) at the Tiki Barn on our annual UP trip to visit each October. Always warm and welcoming Harry was, and a true treat to hear Harry play Guitar. We will miss seeing his smiling face.

    Hugs to you and your family during this really tough time. ❤️

    In the Nelson trio of brothers – Tom, Dick, and Harry – we always considered Harry the healthiest, and the most talented! I have been playing the guitar solos/albums that Harry recorded years ago. I have the albums loaded on my iPhone so they will stream via bluetooth to my hearing aids. And we have 2 big paintings that Harry created on our walls. Such talent can not be replaced!

    I fondly recall Harry showing us their Tiki Bar in the barn, their log cabin in the woods, and the farm’s Escanaba River frontage last time I visited Cornell.

    I also recall Harry’s band playing for our Esky59 Class Reunion at the House of Ludington … a very special occasion!

    He left us far too early … What a creative treasure! We hope Kim, their son John, and John’s Family will carry on Harry’s tradition of achievement. Harry will be missed!

    Tom (& Avis) Nelson in Evergreen, Colorado

    Kim and family, our sincere condolences for your loss. Harry was a caring and loving person.
    He will be missed by everyone who knew him.
    Patrick enjoyed his guitar lessons and started him on a life long love of playing guitar.
    We will keep you in our prayers with love.
    Harold and Sally

    Growing up, John (Harry’s son) was my best friend so I spent many, many hours at the Nelson home playing video games, eating pizza, listening to music, and exploring the old barn. Harry and Kim were like second parents to me. I took every art class Harry taught at Escanaba High School and I still play bass and am a musician, to this day, because of Harry. I wouldn’t be the person I am without him. He was a good man and I am glad to have known him so well. The world is a lesser place without his presence and he will be sorely missed by many, myself included.

    Kim and family, my sincere condolences for your loss. Harry was a caring and loving man who will be greatly missed. He was my art teacher and became a good friend. I will always cherish the memories and conversations we had. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. Rest In Peace, Harry

    My husband and I had the wonderful opportunity to spend time with Harry and Kim at their extraordinary barn, they transformed into a gathering place for friends, the sharing of laughter, and a zest for life. Such welcoming, upbeat, good-natured people! In the years I have been writing about Michigan’s barns and learning their stories, this was one of the most memorable stories and they, among the absolute most enjoyable barn owners. We felt very bad to know that they were dealing with such a serious health challenge, yet were facing it with grace and strength. Harry, it was wonderful to have met you. Kim and family, Harry is with you in spirit. He truly is.

    We didn’t know him super long but long enough to know what a great husband, father, artist, musician and master craftsman he was. So much fun at their house and exploring the grounds and the tiki bar. Love for all the Nelson family.

    Harry Nelson was childhood friends with my father, Roger, and his son John and I are friends. It seemed that I split my childhood half at home and half with the Nelsons. Harry taught me so very much and encouraged my creativity, I still have some art supplies he gave me as a child. I loved watching him create, wheter it was drawing, painting, carving wood or playing music.

    I will always be grateful for the time I was able to spend with him at his home and in his classroom.

    My thoughts are with John and Kim and may Harry live forever in our hearts and fond memories. Rest in peace Mr. Nelson, you will be missed.

    Harry Nelson was one of God’s gift to this earth, his talents were endless, to watch him draw/paint was amazing, play any instrument flawlessly, couldn’t be beat at trivia, he was a natural teacher of his talents, patient and Kind… So blessed to call him a friend, R.I.P Harry

    Kim –
    my long lost friend…

    I heard the sad news.

    My deepest sympathy To you and your family – Hugs my friend –
    239-450-2025 please call me

    I first remember Mr. Nelson coming to Lemmer Elementary as our substitute art teacher. He was encouraging, telling me he liked the running buck I drew and helped me create the background, something I didn’t yet know how to do. When I approached high school, I was pleasantly surprised that he was the art teacher and though he was very busy with classrooms full of kids, he seemed to effortlessly mentor each one of us. I can still see him in front of the classroom, with his broad strokes. I learned not to dwell on the little details. “When you draw big and wide, the little imperfections have a way of working themselves out” you said. Kind of like life, huh?

    Thank you for teaching me that Mr. Nelson and for helping me find the courage to find the creativity within myself. You certainly were a gift to us all!

    Greta Patrick

    So sad to hear of Cousin Harry’s illness and passing. It doesn’t seem fair that such a great person should suffer such a terrible illness.
    Our visits with Harry were too short and always special. Your family were great hosts and the farm is a special place.
    I regret not communicating and visiting with you two more often.
    Don Gervais

    So sorry for your loss Kim. He will be missed by anyone who knew him! He was a kind and wonderful man, that was always there for his family and friends!

    Kim, so sorry about the loss of your husband and lifelong friend. There is no timetable for grief or loss, but I hope you take solace in the memories you made, the joys you shared and the lessons you fought through together. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Kim, Sorry for your loss, I hope the days that follow easy your grief, being surrounded by loving family and friends.

    I remember Harry’s band from years ago, and had the privilege of getting up to sing a few songs with them. I saw Harry a couple years ago at the Music Fest in Nahma and had a nice conversation with him about old times. I wasn’t sure he’d remember me at first, but when I asked him if he did, he said…”Oh my gosh yes, Meridy. You have such a beautiful voice.” That warmed my heart so much, coming from such a talented man. But that truly was Harry….so gracious and kind. RIP Harry.

    Kim, I am so sorry to hear about Harry. I have fond memories of spending time with you and Harry in the early days. Blessings to you and your family for healing prayers and love.

    I was very young when Harry was in my life. I remember it was sometime before I was in 4th grade. He was a good friend to my mom and he inspired her to learn to play guitar. I loved that! I always felt happy and comfortable when Harry was around. I think I actually prayed that he would marry my mom, but that was not meant to be. I’m so glad to know that he found the woman he was meant to marry and had the good life he deserved. I will forever remember Harry Nelson with great fondness. ❤️❤️❤️

    Oh Kim, I’m so sorry for your loss. I JUST heard about it today. My condolences to you and your family.

    Harry was a very special and talented man, and will truly be missed by all who knew him. He inspired everyone to be the best they can be and to strive for more. (He’s the reason I took drum lessons!)

    I was so honored to have him playing up on stage with us at the Rail, and still have the framed Patsy Cline picture you both gave to me to so long ago. It hangs in my studio still, as a constant reminder of our friendship.

    Please know that our prayers are with you and your family.

    Thinking of you Kim & family during this sad/difficult time. Sorry to hear about Harry, you have my sympathy & love. I’ve always appreciated this quote, “Could it be… that no person is truly dead while yet one person lives who treasures his memory?” AND, surely many beautiful memories. I always enjoyed being around Harry & loved his talented being… last time being in Nahma. And, our night sky gains another star. Kim, please know keeping you in prayer sweet classmate… you were definitely made for each other. Hugs & Kisses

    Our brother Harry, and his beloved wife Kim, cared for Pa and Ma (Elmer and Evelyn Nelson) during their final years. Then Kim and their loving son John cared for Harry during his final years. Although my brother Tom and I could only participate from a distance, we are deeply grateful for their selfless endeavors.

    I wanted to become a good guitar player; Harry became a great guitar player.
    I wanted to become a good fly fisherman; Harry caught all the big trout.
    I wanted to become a good joke teller; Harry had the best sense of humor.

    How do I know Harry had the best sense of humor? He laughed at all my jokes.

    May God love you and keep you all, Richard.

    Kim, John and Family,
    Our sincere condolences to you .
    We will always remember Harry’s kindness.
    You are in our thoughts and prayers.
    Jerry and Tammy Hanson

    We are so sorry Kim. We are really going to miss him. He was a truly great man, so talented. He positively affected so many people. We loved him. He made us feel like part of your family. We enjoyed the times we came up there at the Tiki bar. We were blessed to know him. I am so grateful for everything both you and Harry did to help mom. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and John and your family

    Our deepest sympathy to the Nelson family during this time. Kim, you and Harry welcomed Deloris and I into your home and treated us like family. We will always cherish the time spent with you and Harry. Praying for you always James and Deloris.

    My condolences to Harry’s entire family! As a member of our High School Class of 65 he was just plain and simply one of the good guys!!! Rest in Peace my friend.

    Kim so sorry for loss. Harry and I had some good talks and laughs when we worked together as teachers at Esky High! Harry was a quiet guy with a great and witty sense of humor! Tom and Shirley DeRidder

    Condolences to Mr. Nelson’s family. He was my art teacher in high school 30 years ago. I wasn’t the greatest or most creative artist, but he was always encouraging. What I remember about him was his kindness and smiling face…and the fact that to this day he remembered my name and always stopped to talk when we passed on the street, at the store, or just out and about…and that he always left me with a smile. Sad to hear the news.

    R. Richard Courier – Escanaba to Petaluma, CA.
    I met Harry through Tom. However, what I was attracted to first was Harry’s artistic painting on his barn. I learned from Tom that “this barn” I liked so much was his family farm and it was talented Harry that painted it. I was fortunate to be able to visit the farm with Tom and that absolutely unexpected Tiki Bar in the barn. It was a fun and entertaining visit.
    Harry was a most gracious host. I had a couple of occasions to visit with Harry and truly enjoyed his paintings and art. One exceptional piece, the Packer’s Football game, with his friend “in the stands.” That was an especially nice visit in which I enjoyed all that he shared with me. Harry will be truly missed by all who knew him. So talented and giving of his time and energy.
    Harry, Tom, and I discovered something we had in common… we both have a Tom, Dick & Harry in our families.
    Expressing sorrow for the loss of a brother, a husband, and a family member. Harry’s gift of friendship and art will keep his cherished memory with us. May God be with you, rest in peace Harry.

    Hi Kim

    Today is the 5th of June and I just found out about Harry!! Gosh I have so many great memories of Harry. One that comes to mind is when he was an Art teacher at the Junior High. He wanted to take the class to the art museum for a field trip. of course we had to walk there. He carried me on his back!! I distinctly remember saying ” You drop me Mister and I’ll break your legs” he laughed so hard he almost did drop me!!

    What a sweet man! he will be greatly missed!!

    For me Cornell Township will never be the same without Harry to run into now & then. We were raised here together back in the fifties when I as a year younger looked up to Harry in grade school. He was my guitar teacher, jamming partner through the years and a wonderful sincere friend (oh, and a fun guy to golf with). He was a friend to many, but he meant an awful lot to me and I will miss him. I’m still looking up to him.

    So sorry for your large loss. Haven’t seen you you in quite some time. We had some fun memories together. You were such a wonderful pair. I will keep you in my thoughts during this difficult time for you and family.

    I am so sorry to hear of Harry’s passing. I heard about his condition via common musical contacts. I first met Harry about 1972 or 1973 with a band called “Blue Rock”. Harry opened up so many windows, musically and professionally for a high school age kid. I have never experienced slide guitar work (Run Run Run) or the opening chord of “A Hard Day’s Night” or the classic bass line of “All my Lovin” which I still use today to check out a bass guitar until Harry came up on the Escanaba music scene. He showed me what a mature musician does when faced with difficult situations dealing with unruly patrons at a gig. To Harry I am forever indebted. Harry was also my Art teacher at EAPHS and it was fun to have that extra, but imagined, “in” for a good grade. Harry tolerated us ( Jerry and Me) with a smile and did not bring student behavior to band practice. Lucky for us. Harry is one of my biggest influences in continuing making music for everyone and being in a band is something no one understands until you get the fever. Thank you Harry for all you have given me!!!

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