Mike Nelson 1946 - 1970

Michael L. Nelson, 25

Dies In Accident


            A one-car accident 5 miles west of Ponca, Nebraska, Thursday morning at 3:30 a.m. took the life of Michael L. Nelson, son of Mr. and Mrs. Lester C. Nelson of Newman Grove.  The Reporter contacted Trooper Merle Loecker of South Sioux City Tuesday of this week and was given the following information concerning the accident:

            Trooper Loecker states that the west bound car, a 4-door Chevrolet, driven by James J. Walsh, 31, high school principal at Newcastle was west bound 5 miles west of Ponca.  According to a statement given, Trooper Loacker learned that passengers in the car, Constance Aubert, 32, football coach at Newcastle, sitting in rear seat, and Michael L. Nelson had fallen asleep and then Mr. Walsh fell asleep “at the wheel”.  The car started to leave road slowly 380 feet east of the bridge.  Moving slowly it missed the bridge and went into a deep ditch on south side of road.

            Michael Nelson was pinned in front seat.  The other two men were not pinned in and were taken to St. Vincent Hospital in Sioux City where they remained the first of this week.

            The three teachers in the Newcastle school had attended a coach’s meeting and after the meeting, had stopped at the Diamond Horseshoe in South Sioux City for a sandwich at 2 a.m. before starting back to Newcastle.

            When the news of the untimely death of Michael L. Nelson, 25, reached Newman Grove Thursday, the community was bereaved to think of the loss of this young man.  The entire community sympathizes with his parents, sister, and grandparents.

            This same “heavy heart” was felt in Newcastle where Michael taught and the sympathy of that community was expressed Sunday as school bus, and cars brought basketball team, cheerleaders and other students as well as members of the school board, superintendent, faculty members, and others of Newcastle community to Salem Lutheran church to pay their respects to a teacher that they appreciated.

            Michael’s fraternity brothers and other college friends were also in attendance at funeral with many attending from this community.

            Rev. LeRoy Dobbe officiated at the 2:00 p.m. service Sunday at Salem Lutheran church.  Miss Sandra Gustafson was organist.  Music was furnished by Salem Men’s Quartet.

            Burial was in Salem Parish cemetery.  Casket bearers were Douglas Nelson, Roger Lyon, John Wyant, Raymond Flood, Gale Muller, and John Sellhorst.

            Michael Lee Nelson was born July 31, 1944, in Lincoln, Nebr. to Mr. and Mrs. Lester C. Nelson.  He was baptized into the Christian faith at First Lutheran church in Lincoln, and was confirmed at Salem Lutheran church of rural St. Edward, where he remained a member until death.

            He attended grade school in Lincoln and was graduated from Newman Grove high school in 1962.  In 1968 he was graduated from John F. Kennedy College in Wahoo.  He was in his 2nd year of teaching in Newcastle at the time of his death.

            During high school he was active in athletics, Luther League, and school activities.  In his senior year he was F.F.A. president and a State Farmer.  While in college he edited the school paper, was president of his fraternity, and coached the freshman basketball team.

            He is survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Lester C. Nelson; one sister, Judy; and his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Emil Nelson of Newman Grove, and Mrs. Walter Boyd of Kensington, Kan., and many other relatives and friends.

            He was preceded in death by one grandfather, Walter Boyd.


(Submitted by Lynnette D’Jernes-Goldberger)



Newcastle High School basketball coach Michael L. Nelson, 23, was killed in a one-car accident about four miles east of here on Nebraska 12 Thursday morning.

Two other people in the car were in satisfactory condition in St. Vincent’s Hospital in Sioux City, IA. They are high school principal James Walsh, 31, and football coach Constance Aubert, 32,

The three were reportedly returning from a sports meeting in Sioux City.

Trooper Merl Loecker of South Sioux City said the westbound car, driven by Walsh, ran off the highway and into a deep ditch.

Nelson’s death brought the 1970 Nebraska highway death toll to 20, compared with 26 at this time one year ago.