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Hiroko Nelson 1921-2010

Dec 28, 2010

Services for Hiroko Nelson of Emmetsburg will be Wednesday, Dec. 29 at Bethany Lutheran Church in Emmetsburg. Rev. Steve Ellerbusch will officiate. The Martin-Mattice Funeral Home in Emmetsburg is in charge of arrangements.

Hiroko died Friday, Dec. 24, 2010, at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minn. She was 89.

In the last half century, most of the notable characters in Emmetsburg Iowa have been Irish. They include dignitaries from Ireland who have visited and participated in the annual St. Pat’s festivals, celebrations and of course, members of our local Irish community here in Emmetsburg, who emulate the traditions started by our namesake, Robert Emmet. But did you know, there have been a few notable non-Irish members of our community, who have made their mark on our community and enriched the lives of many who have lived here?

Hiroko Nelson was one of those. She immigrated to Emmetsburg from Tokyo, Japan in 1952, a bride of then recently released Army Sgt. Albert Raymond Nelson, with their son, William Hiroshi, and make her home in Iowa. Her mark on the community included many activities, all in a volunteer capacity. She lectured many classes in the elementary school system in Japanese culture and traditions. Dressed in a kimono an displaying many Japanese cultural artifacts, she tried to bridge the gap between a war-torn Japan and the US, giving Emmetsburg students an idea of what life was like in the Orient. Her later activities included volunteer work mailing newsletters for the VFW; mailings for Iowa Lakes Community College and her many activities with Bethany Lutheran Church.

Hiroko was the daughter of Keizaburo, a civil engineer in Tokyo and Yasu Watenabe. She was born on November 25, 1921. She had three children, Michiko, her daughter from a previous marriage and William Hiroshi and Chris Eugene, both past graduates of Emmetsburg High School. One of her most notable accomplishments was becoming a naturalized citizen on April 13, 1956. Her pride in being a citizen and member of the Emmetsburg community was accentuated by her involvement with Bethany Lutheran Church, where she was one of the most active Norwegian cooks, baking Krumkaka, rosettes, and lefsa for the annual Scandinavian Tea. She also knew the difference between lutfisk and sushi and could prepare both with relish.

Hiroko is survived by her children, Michiko, Williams and Brenda and Chris and Julie and two grandchildren, Jade and Torbin. She was preceded in death by her parents; husband Raymond and all her brothers and sisters in Japan.

Condolences can be left at: www.martinmatticefuneralhome.com