In loving memory of Dorothy Gail Nelson: 1933-2024


Dorothy Gail Nelson passed away peacefully on Jan. 20, 2024, at Providence Centralia Hospital after she suffered a stroke. She was 90 years old. 

Gail was born on March 7, 1933, in Olympia, Washington, to Ray and Vera (Harris) Rutledge. She grew up at Mima Prairie and was educated in Rochester, graduating in 1951. After graduating, she went to Central Washington University for one year. She started working for the state of Washington in 1953, working for numerous agencies until she retired in 1987. 

She met Carl Nelson at a New Years Eve party in 1952 at the Swede Hall in Rochester. They were married on July 10, 1954, and made their first, and only, home on a small farm in the Independence Valley. They had two children, Kathie and John. 

Gail enjoyed the farm life, raising cattle and chickens, making hay, having a vegetable garden, canning and freezing, and growing flowers. Dahlias were her favorite. In the winter, she enjoyed making clothes for herself and her children. Later in life, she spent many hours putting together her family history. She also enjoyed quilting and crocheting, reading and sudoku, and of course, watching Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! 

Gail and her husband, Carl, were involved in Larch Mountain Little League for nine years. Carl coached and Gail kept stats and did whatever else needed to be done. Mostly, they enjoyed working with the kids. Sometimes they would take the whole team to games in the back of their canopied Ford pickup. Many times, win or lose, there was a stop at the Rochester In and Out for ice cream. 

After Gail and her husband retired, they bought a camper and traveled for many years. They enjoyed the West Coast and the Midwest, visiting with family and friends. They also enjoyed fishing and spending time with their grandchildren. 

She was a member of the Order of Runeberg for 45 years and held several offices during her membership. She loved to help at the events that were held there. The Swede Hall held a special place in her heart. 

Gail is survived by her daughter, Kathie Suter; son, John (Lynn) Nelson; grandchildren, Geoff (Sheri) Nelson, Brad Harmanson, Kenny (Dahkota) Harmanson, Cara Harmanson and Nick Harmanson; six great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. 

She was preceded in death by her husband, Carl; twin brothers, Richard (Carol) and Leonard (Janet) Rutledge; grandson, Chris Nelson; and son-in-law, Bob Suter. 

A celebration of life with a potluck to follow will be held at noon Saturday, March 23, at Swede Hall in Rochester. In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be given to the Rochester Citizens Group.