Jean Ellen Wilson, 94, died peacefully at her home in Renton, Washington, on Sept. 3, 2022, after a brief hospitalization.
She was born on Feb. 11, 1928, in Denison, Iowa, to James Arthur Walz and Nellie Bolton Walz. Jean grew up in Hartington, Nebraska, the oldest of seven children. She graduated from Holy Trinity (now Cedar Catholic) High School in 1945. After graduation she worked at the Cedar County News, and also moved to Minneapolis for a time before returning to Hartington. She married George W. Nelson on Nov. 10, 1948, in Hartington. The couple lived in Crofton, Nebraska, Bloomfield, Nebraska, and Yankton, South Dakota, before moving to Kent, Washington, in 1956, where they raised five children. The couple were divorced in 1971. Jean later married Glenn Wilson.
Jean worked at the Kent School District administrative office from 1968-1989 and became supervisor of the word processing department. After retiring from the school district, she undertook a second career working for Avis Car Rental at Sea-Tac International Airport from 1989-2014.
Jean moved to Renton in 2014. From there, she moved to Merrill Gardens assisted living in Renton in early 2020, where she resided until her death.
Jean was a longtime member of St. Stephen the Martyr Catholic parish in Renton, and attended St. Anthony Catholic church in Kent prior to that. She was active for many years in the Saddle-Ites Square Dance Club and was secretary of the organization in 1976-77, was a member of the Group Health Medical Center Council, and became a certified hospice volunteer in 2011. She was fond of reading true- crime books, was an accomplished crossword puzzle solver and Scrabble player, and was always up on current news and events.
Jean was also an avid international traveler, visiting Europe, Asia, Southeast Asia, New Zealand and Australia.
One of the highlights of her life was attending the Academy Awards ceremony with her son Bob Nelson when he received an Oscar nomination for his original screenplay for the movie “Nebraska,” in which she had a small walk-on role. She also had a recurring role on the Seattle comedy sketch show “Almost Live!”
Jean was predeceased by her parents, her husbands, and sisters Lucille Hannigan, Phyllis Hochstein and Elizabeth Berg.
She is survived by sister Marietta Hunke of Minneapolis, Minnesota, brother Robert Walz of Shakopee, Minnesota, and brother Daniel Walz of Menlo Park, California; children Donald Nelson (Jacqueline Banaszynski) of Twisp, Washington; Laura (Darnell) Koenig of Sultan, Washington; William Nelson (Cheryll Kuznik) of Bloomington, Minnesota; Robert Nelson (Valerie Howell) of Freeland, Washington; and Kristine (Terrance) Harvey of Bend, Oregon.
Other survivors include grandchildren Sean Nelson (Catalina Carbonell) of Norwood Young America, Minnesota; Mackenzie Wilson (Ryan) of Richfield, Minnesota; Craig Nelson of New York City; Joshua Harvey (Kate) of Bend Oregon; Erik Harvey (Melissa) of Bend, Oregon; Jon (Jana) Koenig of Gold Bar, Washington; and Erica Olson (Sergio) of Snohomish, Washington; 13 great- grandchildren; three great-great- grandchildren; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
Marlatt Funeral Home in Kent, Washington, is charge of arrangements. A funeral mass will be said at 10 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 19, at St. Stephen the Martyr Catholic Church in Renton, Washington, followed by interment at Hillcrest Burial Park in Kent, Washington.