Obituary: Charles Nelson, 85, of Ludington

September 5, 2023

Charles Nelson

Obituary: Charles Nelson, 85, of Ludington

Charles Richard “Dick” Nelson passed away on Saturday, September 2, 2023, at Ludington Woods Assisted Living and Memory Care. He was 85 years old.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Dick was the only son of Meryl and Marjorie (Child) Nelson, and brother to sister, Carol. He graduated from Shaw High School and served in the United States Army Reserves. Following this, he started his college career at Kent State University, later transferring to Cleveland State University and completing his business degree at Siena Heights University. He married Elizabeth “Bettilou” Lewis in June of 1963. They raised three children: Vicki, Lisa, and Steve. Dick delivered Steve in the bathroom of their home in Eastlake, Ohio. Turns out Bettilou was right, she “was” in labor. Dick and Bettilou celebrated 37 years of marriage before Bettilou’s death from complications of scleroderma in 2000.

Dick worked for General Motors for 39 years, starting his career in Cleveland, then working in Tecumseh, and ending his career in the Troy offices. Dick retired as a senior worldwide buyer for the seating division. After retiring, Dick moved to Ludington where his daughter Lisa, and her family live. He was very active in the community, volunteering in the schools, acting as the volunteer coordinator for Memorial Medical Center, volunteering at the Ludington Visitor Center, working as a greeter at the Methodist Church, and helping his neighbors.

Dick was an avid walker and a fun golf partner, often teeing it up at Lakeside Links. Dick was also famous for his many Friday night dinners made from his four-ingredient cookbook. During Dick’s time at Memorial Medical, he met Donna Nelson, whom he shared six years of marriage with prior to his passing.

He was very proud of his children and grandchildren. They, and many of their friends, benefitted from his (mostly welcome) advice. Frequently reinforcing his personal beliefs to his children of “doing the right thing,” and “doing what makes sense,” Dick strived to do just that in his own life.

Dick always kept a positive outlook and was known for his wonderful sense of humor, even as he entered assisted living. He continued sharing his advice with family and staff coining the phrase “every day is good; some are just better than others.”

The family is extremely grateful for the wonderful care Dick received during his four years at Ludington Woods, where we learned that though as we age our world may get smaller, who we are does not have to. The staff worked hard to help Dick find opportunities to express his talents in ways he still could: a volunteer offering to pray at mealtimes, a physically active person when he was able, a person of faith, a social person, and a person with wisdom he was willing to share. The family is immensely grateful for the excellent, compassionate, and personalized care Dick received from the staff at Elara Hospice, as well.

Dick is survived by his three children, Vicki (Dennis) Haan of Marysville, Lisa (Don) Bradley of Ludington, Steve (Heidi) Nelson of Dexter; his wife, Donna; four grandchildren: Lily and Tess Bradley, Emily and Derrick Nelson; his sister, Carol Hotchkiss of Ohio; nephew, James Morningstar of Florida; and niece, Jeannie Morningstar – Tippin of Pennsylvania.

In addition to wife Bettilou, he was preceded in death by his brother-in-law, Richard Hotchkiss.

Dick will be laid to rest at Cadillac Memorial Gardens East in Clinton Township, next to his beloved Bettilou.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Scleroderma Foundation: or Elara Hospice:

Arrangements were entrusted to Oak Grove Funeral Home of Ludington,

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