Mary Kathryn Nelson

Mary Kathryn Nelson


Mary Kathryn Nelson passed from this life on September 17, 2020 at the Clarion Wellness and Rehab Center.

Memorial service for Mary Kay will be held on Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 11:00 AM at Ewing Funeral Home, 111 Luick’s Lane South, in Belmond with Pastor Katie Pals officiating.  Burial will follow at the Belmond Cemetery.

Visitation for Mary Kay will be held on Friday, September 25, 2020 from 5:00 – 7:00 PM at Ewing Funeral Home, 111 Luick’s Lane South in Belmond and will continue one hour prior to the service on Saturday.

Mary Kathryn Nelson was born on May 25, 1944 to Lola Shahan Pals and Peter Pals Jr.  She never got to know her mother, because she died during childbirth, a loss that she felt all her life.  Pete was overseas serving in the U.S. Army during WW 2 and would not be home to see her for many months.  She was born in the house that the Belmond Independent wrote an article on with other stories but never about this miracle and tragedy.

She was instantly loved and cared for by Howard and Gertrude (Ersland) Shahan who they took on as their daughter.  Mary Kay considered them as her mom and dad, and was very upset when others did not.  They took care of her every need with few Pals relatives helping financially at times. Gert and Howard had birthday parties with Shahan, Pals and Ersland relatives for Mary while she was growing up.  There was no legal adoption that took place but Mary Kay legally changed her name from Pals to Shahan on her own when she was older.

She grew up in Goodell and Belmond, going to school in both.  She graduated in 1962, being part of the first class to graduate from the new Belmond High School building.  Hamilton Business College in Mason City was her next step for a year or two before working in a doctor’s office in the Park Clinic. She often spoke how she had enjoyed this time.

She was united in marriage at the United Methodist Church in Belmond to Danny R. Nelson.  She had made her wedding dress and hat with veil, as well as her maid of honor’s.  To this union Ann, Shea, and Amber were born. Shea was taken to Heaven before she was born, another loss Mary suffered from.  They later divorced.

Mary Kay enjoyed the times she had out wandering around Hickory Grove growing up, sewing and working on crafts in her earlier adult life, working for and helping Karol Johnson make/teach on making porcelain dolls, going to garage sales, attending auctions with her daughters, watching movies, and reading.

She worked in retail at different times in her life and enjoyed working with people.  She worked at the fabric shop, Ben Franklins, Redders Drug Store, CEJM, and Thompson’s Clothing Store.  She had also been a cook at the Belmond Schools.  She retired from the City Directory in Belmond.

She loved and cared for her daughters, raising them on her own along with maintaining the home and yard.  She helped her father care for her ill mother until her death.  She was very proud to be a grandmother to nine grandchildren, whom she loved and worried about.

She was extremely knowledgeable with anything that dealt with nature and could tell you the most interesting facts.

Mary Kay is preceded in death by her parents, daughter Shea, grandsons Jonathon Nelson and Jack Rosendahl, along with many aunts, uncles, and cousins.

She is survived by daughters Ann (Patrik) Nelson, Amber (Trent) Rosendahl, all of Belmond; grandchildren Bridgette (Nick) Mahlstedt of Cedar Falls, Elizabeth and Zachariah Nelson of Belmond, Benjamin, Alexandrea, James, and Anthony Rosendahl of Belmond.


Date: Friday, September 25, 2020
Time: 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Where: Ewing Funeral Home – Belmond
111 Luick's Lane South, Belmond, Iowa 50421
Get Directions


Date: Saturday, September 26, 2020
Time: 11:00 am
Where: Ewing Funeral Home – Belmond
111 Luick's Lane South, Belmond, Iowa 50421
Get Directions

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