Carolyn Nelson, age 86, a Covenant Village, Westminster, Colorado resident, passed away peacefully on January 13, 2023 after suffering a debilitating stroke. Carolyn was born March 16, 1936, to parents Donald and Myrtle Hoyt of Jeddo, Michigan.
Carolyn fondly recalled making sandcastles on the 10 miles of Lake Huron beach owned by her grandfather. At a young age, she and her sisters helped on her parent’s turkey farm to teach newly hatched turkeys how to eat by putting curds of milk on her toes and letting them peck them off while they wiggled their toes, something she recalled as being lots of fun.
Carolyn met her husband, Don Nelson, when they were both students at St. Clair Community College in Port Huron, Michigan. With Don’s engagement ring on her finger, she earned a degree in education at Central Michigan University while Don went into the Air Force. They were married 57 years when Don died in 2015. Carolyn taught her first year of school at Kinross Air Force Base near Sault Saint Marie, Michigan, where Don was stationed. She continued to teach school for the next ten years as an elementary teacher.
Carolyn has two children, Lori and Kurt. Carolyn frequently told the story that she went into labor during a historic Michigan snowstorm when she was pregnant with her son and two weeks overdue. She recalled the snow being as high as the door on their remote 40-acre home, and the state police braved the storm to transport her to the hospital for what turned out to be a false labor. She finally gave birth a week later after the roads had been cleared.
Carolyn and her young family lived in Newton, Kansas, Greeley, Colorado, and Tallahassee, Florida, before settling in Lakewood, Colorado, in 1971. Carolyn worked as a bridal consultant for JC Penny for 21 years.
Don was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease when he was 29 years old and was the subject of decades-long research about the course of the disease. In 1988, Don was the first patient in the United States to undergo pioneering brain surgery to treat the disease. His surgeon at the University of Colorado Hospital published a book titled Healing the Brain that detailed Carolyn and Don’s experiences leading up to and following the surgery.
Carolyn is survived by her daughter, Lori Keesey; son, Kurt (Connie) Nelson; and granddaughters, Melissa (Shane) Nolan, Courtney (Clint) Bowen, Amanda (Doug) Kegerreis, Chelsea (Stuart) Smith; and Carlea (Zach) Wallace, as well as by numerous great-grandchildren. She will be dearly missed by all who knew her.