Deane Nelson

Published 2:22 pm Friday, July 14, 2017

Deane Ada Sorenson Nelson, of Gulfport, Miss., died peacefully at home surrounded by her family on Tuesday, July 11, 2017, at the age of 82.

Deane was born Feb. 13, 1935, in Bogalusa, to Fred Sorenson and Tena Louise Sorenson and graduated from Bogalusa High School.

She is survived by Donald Nelson, her husband of 63 wonderful years; and her sons, Daniel Nelson and his wife Amanda Galt Nelson of Wasilla, Alaska, and Donald Nelson and his wife Kristin of Scituate, Mass.

Deane was predeceased by her son, David of Springfield, Ill.

Deane was a gentle and caring grandmother to grandchildren, Naomi Kettner, Daniel Nelson Jr., Jonathan “Jonny” Nelson, Tina Haisley, Hannah Nelson, Dylan Nelson, Declan Nelson, Donald Jacob “D.J.” Nelson and Willow Nelson. She was a great-grandmother to Trydell Nelson, Samantha Kettner, Anthony Nelson, Andrew Haisley, Derek Westfall, Jaxson Kettner, Oakley Nelson, Ryder Kettner and Holden Nelson. She is survived by her three sisters, Mabel Denham, Helen Mizell and Bess Carter; and predeceased by her brother, George “Bud” Sorenson.

Deane enjoyed traveling with her husband and her dear friend Bertha Bousley, a fellow Alaskan postmaster. Deane rose through the U.S. Postal Service from a part-time carrier in Minnesota to postmaster for three different towns in Alaska — Barrow, Nome, and Seward. She retired from Seward in 1995 and turned her attention to the Van Gilder Hotel, a historical hotel owned by Deane and her husband from 1986 to 2000. Upon selling the hotel and “finally” retiring, she and Donald moved to Gulfport in 2001 to enjoy family, the warmth of the sand, and the sound of the Gulf.

This dream was dashed when Hurricane Katrina destroyed their home and they moved to Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, in 2006. The gravity of friends and warmth once again pulled Deane and Donald back to Gulfport in 2013.

Deane had many interests over the years, which she poured her energy into including bridge, bowling, painting, DAR, genealogy, piano, gardening and traveling. She continually enjoyed new experiences and challenges. She was a two-time cancer survivor that would not surrender.

Visitation and viewing will be held Monday, July 17, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Bradford O’Keefe Funeral Home, located at 1726 15th St. in Gulfport. The funeral service will be held Tuesday, July 18, at 10 a.m. at St. Matthew Lutheran Church of Gulfport, with visitation an hour prior. Interment will be at the Biloxi National Cemetery, located at 400 Veterans Ave. in Biloxi, Miss.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations in Deane’s name to, “MD Anderson Cancer Center, P.O. Box 4486, Houston, TX 77210-4486” or online at

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