Fond du Lac, WI
Gregory T. Nelson (Gregg Nelson), 75, passed away peacefully at his home in Randolph, WI on July 18, 2022.
Gregg was born March 3, 1947 in St. Paul, Minnesota, where his lifelong love of hockey started at an early age, playing for Hayden Heights on the St. Paul City champion team.
In 1958, he and his family moved to Fond du Lac, WI, where he played for Don Kohlman in the very first WAHA Bantam State Tournament, and he poured his heart out into various sports, earning all-state recognition.
After graduating from Fond du Lac High School in 1965, Gregg attended the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where he played right wing for the Badger Hockey team under “Badger Bob” Johnson from 1966-1969, while pursuing his degree in Spanish.
He followed up his time playing for the Badgers with several years of semi-professional hockey with the Dayton Gems in the International Hockey League, as well as the Green Bay Bobcats, Iron Rangers, and Waterloo Blackhawks in the USHL.
Following his semi-professional career, he coached the Beaver Dam High School boy’s hockey team while running the Beaver Dam Family Center Ice Arena.
After his years in Beaver Dam, he managed the Naga-waukee Park Ice Arena in Waukesha County, where he also founded the WAHA Adult State Tournament, and served 2 terms as President of the Wisconsin Ice Arena Managers Association (WIAMA). During his time in Waukesha County, he was heavily involved with the WAHA and spent 8 years as one of its first coaching directors.
In his later years, he was a Learn-to-Skate instructor in the Milwaukee area, and was a key figure in establishing the Marian College Women’s Hockey program. In 2011, he was inducted into the WAHA Hockey Hall of Fame, followed by a 2014 induction into the Fond du Lac Athletic Hall of Fame.
His passion for hockey easily passed on to his two boys, and he spent countless hours teaching, coaching, driving, and cheering them on from a young age, as they shared his love of the sport. They adored his quick wit and sense of humor, and he was their rock.
Gregg was an extremely loving and devoted grandfather, and never missed an opportunity to spend time with his grandkids, telling them stories of the “hobgoblin”, teaching them silly rhymes, taking them for zamboni rides, playing card games, and teaching them how to play pool, skate, drive the wood truck and the 4-wheeler, as well as rooting for them at their many sporting events.
Gregg is survived by his wife of 50 years, Lynne (nee Henneman), sons Noah (Fond du Lac) and Benjamin (Kara, Beaver Dam), sister Janet Lamb (Tom, Van Dyne), brothers Jeff Nelson (Fond du Lac) and Steven Nelson (Peggy, Jackson), sister-in-law Mary Jo Nelson (Fond du Lac), grandchildren Ian Wendt-Utrie, Ethan Kutzke, Autumn Nelson, Alivia Krug-Nelson, Alyson Nelson, Peyton and Amyrah Mortimer, and Carston Curry-Nelson. He is further survived by many nieces and nephews whom he loved dearly, extended family and close friends Gary Merwin and Bob Neiderehe, all of whom can take comfort in knowing that he has moved on to a place where everyday is “a great day for hockey.”
He is preceded in death by his sisters, Sandra Jacobs and Susan Koehler, his parents – Thomas and Lois (nee White) Nelson, close friend Don Bosin and in-laws Lynn and Cecile Henneman (nee Hartman).
A Celebration of Life gathering and luncheon is planned for Sunday, August 21st from 11am – 4pm at the Kiwanis Shelter at Lakeside Park, Fond du Lac, WI.
Instead of flowers, please consider a donation in Gregory’s name to: Blue Line Club of Beaver Dam, PO Box 91, Beaver Dam, WI 53916, or Beaver Dam Family Center Ice Arena, 609 Gould St, Beaver Dam, WI 53916.
The family would like to extend many thanks to the nurses and staff that have provided care to Gregg over the past few months, as well as Koepsell-Murray Funeral home for providing cremation services.