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Life Story / Obituary
All who knew Kim Nelson would agree that he was truly one of a kind. He was driven, hardworking, and fair with a zest for life. Kim accomplished so much of which to be proud, but he was a humble man who was honest and fair in everything he did. A loving family man, he treasured nothing more than becoming a grandfather. He was an outdoor lover, and he took great pride in teaching his love for the outdoors to his daughters and grandchildren. He loved the outdoors as that is where he was happiest. Kim was devoted to his family, his country, and he will forever be missed by those too numerous to count.
Kim’s life began as the second son of Jack and Helen (Corcoran) Nelson on August 5, 1953 at Camp Atterbury in Franklin, Indiana. He was one of five siblings including Scot, Mark, Todd, and Krystin. Kim’s father worked for GM Credit while his mother worked as a nurse. Their family moved 13 times in 12 years all throughout Michigan and Iowa. With his adventurous spirit, Kim never minded moving around because it meant he had a new place to explore or hunt. While attending Davenport Central High School, Kim excelled at football while always having an after-school job as a vet technician, Manager at Burger Chef, and sous chef at an Italian restaurant. His spare time was spent hunting and fishing.
After graduating from high school in 1972 Kim enlisted in the Marine Corp. He was stationed at Camp Pendleton in California. He enjoyed his time in the military and loved sharing his military stories with his family.
With his military duties fulfilled, Kim moved to Michigan. He joined the family business, Finance System of Kalamazoo. It was there that Kim met the love of his life, Deborah Bokas. They fell in love and were married on August 22, 1981. Together they raised three daughters, Kimberley, Stephanie, and LeeAnn. Kim was active in the lives of his daughters and took great pride in teaching them his love for the outdoors. Over the years he taught them how to play sports, hunt, shoot, and fish. Kim was always involved in his children and grandchildren’s lives. He was willing to help a neighborhood kid with a broken bike, detangle a fishing pole, help a teenager with a bum car, or drive his daughters and their friends anywhere they needed to go.
As a young family Kim, Deborah, and the girls made priceless memories at Canada Creek Ranch. Also hosting an annual ski weekend every winter with friends and family. Cooking for over 30 people is where Kim’s cooking skills shined. It was nothing but fun from the moment the first guest arrived to when Kathy and Dennis came.
Throughout his life he enjoyed multiple activities. His favorite hunting buddies were his Uncle Chet, cousin Tom, and his friend Pete. He hunted in all seasons. One of his favorite places to hunt and visit was Fighting Island…thank you Fred. He loved to travel with his wife. He enjoyed his annual trip with Deborah, JoAnn, and Fred to the Dominican Republic. He and Deborah also enjoyed multiple cruises. His favorite trip though was to Rome and Greece three years ago with Deborah. Being raised Catholic Kim took a special interest in the architecture and the history of Rome. Kim was an avid reader. He enjoyed all genres of books including westerns, sci-fi, and crime novels. Through extensive research Kim even taught himself how to make his own bullets.
In tradition, every Sunday Kim loved cooking the family dinners. Afterwards he enjoyed watching football, hockey, and NASCAR with his son in law, TJ. Most afternoons you could find Kim sitting in his backyard reading and playing with his dog, Jak while watching his grandson, Jace, play with the hose.
A hardworking, compassionate man of integrity, Kim Nelson touched the lives of so many around him in such a special way. A family man through and through, Kim was someone who always did the right thing and unselfishly gave to those around him. He will be forever remembered.
Kim David Nelson, of Portage, age 65, died peacefully on March 14, 2019. Kim’s family includes his wife, Deborah; children: Kimberley (Jim) Dangerfield, Stephanie Nelson, LeeAnn (TJ) Steenholdt; grandchildren: Kyle, Kaleb, Jimmy, Amelia, Cydney, Taylor, Madison, Payton, and Jace; siblings: Scot (Valerie) Nelson, Mark Nelson, Todd (Sharon) Nelson, Krystin (Dan) Scholten; and many nieces and nephews. Kim was preceded in death by his parents as well as his wife’s father: Louis Bokas. Cremation has taken place. A funeral service will be held on Monday (MAR 18) at 11 a.m. at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Dr. Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. A reception will follow in the Life Story Center. A private burial will take place at Fort Custer National Cemetery at a later date. Please visit Kim’s personal web page at www.betzlerfuneralhome.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to the Gary Sinise Foundation.