Carl J. Nelson


MOUNT MORRIS – Carl J. Nelson, 93, Mt. Morris, passed peacefully to eternal life the morning of Dec. 6, 2021 surrounded by his family. Carl was born on Aug. 5, 1928 to Carl G and Eda W. Johnson Nelson in Chicago. 

He graduated from Senn High School, Chicago and attended Northwestern University, Evanston. He married Leona A. Hartje at Ebenezer Lutheran Church, his home church, in Chicago on October 9, 1954, where Leona served as a parish worker. Carl served in WW II (volunteered for duty) and the Korean Conflict (drafted) where he attained the rank of corporal before his honorable discharge in 1953. Carl and Leona moved to Mt. Morris in 1960 where they raised their three children, Beth, David and Rick on the farm. In conjunction with farming, Carl had pursued and led a successful career in the television and film industry with numerous commercials, films and multi-media events to his credit. His career began in 1948 with Wilding Studios in Chicago. He later joined Kling studios followed by Studio Seven as President and Producer and Film Faire with work on location from New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. He retired from the industry in 1991 from his company in Harvard, though he continued to volunteer as a videographer and editor for his many charitable and volunteer work and organizations.

He served on the Boards of Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, The Chicago Farmers (President), Lutheran Brotherhood, Ogle County 4-H Foundation, Northern Illinois Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America stewardship committee, and the Village of Progress (President).He was a member of the Leaf River American Legion, Ogle County Farm Bureau (50 plus years) and volunteered with the Ogle County Sheriff’s Association. Carl’s faith-filled life led him to serve at St. James Lutheran on the church council, as a Sunday School teacher, Luther League sponsor for many Luther League conventions around the country, church usher and as the consummate acolyte instructor.

Carl is survived by his wife of 67 years, Leona; daughter, Beth Nelson (John) Chase, and sons, David (Gretchen) Nelson and Richard (Michelle) Nelson. Grandchildren; Brittany (Nate) Drozd, Craig Nelson, Josh (Emily) Nelson, Derrick Nelson, Trevor (Sarah Harris) Nelson, Johannah (Tim) Coates, Jocelyn Chase and Abi (Basil) El-Ghazzawy. Great grandchildren; Lauren, Annabelle, Natalie, Nathan and Nelson Drozd, Chloe El-Ghazzawy and Jasper Coates. And numerous loving nieces and nephews.

Carl was pre-deceased by his parents, Carl and Eda, siblings and their spouses: Wendell (Betty) Nelson, Lorraine (John) Rabette, Marlene (Dean) Nelson and Frankie Nelson. His parents in law, Ernest and Rose Hartje, sister/brother in law, Rogene (Hartje) and Al Poppen; daughter in law, Lois Nelson, and nephew, Mark Poppen.

Visitation was held at Finch Funeral Home Friday, Dec. 10 from 4-6 p.m. and a Celebration of Life service on Saturday, Dec 11 at 10:30 a.m. at St. James Lutheran Church, Forreston, with Pastor Steve Erickson officiating. The family encourages memorials in lieu of flowers to St. James Lutheran Church, Lutheran Social Services of IL. Lutheran Outdoor Ministries, Ogle County 4-H Foundation, Village of Progress and Pinecrest Community.