Eugene "Gene" Willard Nelson, age 84, of Northfield, passed away on November 30, 2020. Gene was born on Oct. 28, 1936 in New Chester Township, Wisconsin to Cecil and Ollie Nelson. He went to elementary school in Dalton, Wisconsin and attended Markesan High School (WI), before beginning his career in the telecommunications industry at Henkels & McCoy, later working for Centel and still later for Frontier Communications, before retiring. Gene was united in marriage to Dolores on May 8, 1955. During the early years of their marriage they lived in a few different locations before settling in Le Center, MN where they provided a loving home for their five sons over the next 20 years. Gene was a member of St. Paul's Lutheran Church where he was both a church council member and a Sunday school teacher, and also served several years as the town's Scoutmaster for local Boy Scout Troop 329. After beginning work at Frontier Communications, Gene (and family) relocated to Northfield, where they lived on a horse hobby farm. Over the next three decades his love of horseback riding, which had begun back in Le Center, would become a life-long passion. Gene went on to win several cutting horse competitions or events during these years, also serving a term as president of the Minnesota Cutting Horse Association and was a mentor to many youths, helping them to nurture an interest in horseback riding. He and his wife dearly loved their hobby farm (proudly referred to as "the ranch"), owning many horses during the span of their life there, as well as providing a caring home to several generations of dogs and cats. Gene was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Nancy, brother-in-law Gary and sister-in-law Irma. He is survived by his wife Dolores, sons David, Danny (wife Naomi), Darrel, John and Andy (wife Isabella); brothers-in-law Donald Baasch, Fred Walker and Ronald Schultz, sister-in-law Carolyn Baasch, grandchildren Malissa Rogers, Brandon Nelson, Michael Nelson and Matthew Nelson, 8 great-grandchildren, 1 great-great grandchild and many nieces and nephews. We are pleased to finally be able to announce that a Celebration of Life for Gene has been scheduled to be held. It will take place on Saturday, August 7 from 1 - 3 PM at St, John's Hall, located at 500 W. Third St. in Northfield, MN. The hall can be easily accessed by parking in the parking lot behind St. John's Lutheran Church and entering thru the doorway. We hope you'll be able to join us for coffee, cupcakes, sharing your memories of Gene and of course simply to chat with everyone. In lieu of flowers the family requests that any memorials be made to St. John's Lutheran Church in Northfield, MN.