Lana was born in Scobey, Montana on June 18th, 1940. She lived in Scobey for her first seven years before moving to Whitefish in 1948 with her parents Ruth and Wilfred Nelson, sister Yvonne and brother Don. The family purchased the Marshall Wells Hardware store in downtown Whitefish, and began what is now Nelson’s ACE Hardware, a third-generation business. Lana attended grade school and high school in Whitefish and graduated in 1959. After high school she enrolled at the University of Montana and earned her degree in liberal arts. She then attended Kinman Business School in Spokane, Washington. Lana enjoyed a 35-year career as a medical transcriptionist at St. James Hospital in Butte, utilizing specialized equipment to compensate for her visual impairments. Her job provided meaningful contribution to her community and the opportunity to live independently. She retired in 2005. In 2015 she returned to the Flathead to be near her family and resided at the BeeHive Homes in Columbia Falls until her death.
Throughout her life, Lana was beset with many physical challenges. She was able to overcome those disabilities to live an independent and productive life. She was a hero to her family with her ability to maintain a brave and positive outlook while coping with numerous medical difficulties. Her life motto was “never give up” and she never did.
Lana valued the support and love of her large extended family and they in turn returned that love. She was active in the Montana Association for the Blind and developed a supportive group of dear friends with whom she shared many fun activities. She was also involved with St. Marks Lutheran Church in Butte where she sang in the choir and was involved in Bible study groups. After moving to Columbia Falls, she enjoyed attending services at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church and was touched by the kindness shown by their parishioners and pastor Peter Erickson.
Lana’s fondest memories were of times spent with friends and family at her family’s home on Whitefish Lake. She loved camping trips to Bowman and Kintla Lakes with her large extended family. She enjoyed numerous trips and excursions with her sister Yvonne, who was her faithful and loving companion throughout her life. She especially enjoyed their visits to Hawaii and the beach time, luaus, and beautiful music.
Lana was preceded in death by her brother Don Nelson and parents Ruth and Wilfred Nelson. She is survived by her sister Yvonne Bradford of Missoula, brother Rick Nelson and wife Marilyn of Whitefish, nieces and nephews Eric and Connie Bradford, Lisa and Sean Bell, Chris and Christy Nelson, Jennifer and Alon Golan, Leif and Gloria Nelson, Jillian and Brett Nail, and Mariah and Brian Joos, as well as numerous grandnieces and grandnephews.
Lana’s family would like to thank the staff at North Valley Hospital and Kalispell Regional Hospital for their excellent care and kindness. We are fortunate to have such competent and caring medical professionals. We would also like to thank the staff at the BeeHive Homes in Columbia Falls for their compassionate support and loving care. A family celebration of Lana’s life will be held at a later date. Memorial contributions can be sent to the Montana Association for the Blind at 34 North Last Chance Gulch, Helena MT 59601.
Austin Funeral & Cremation Services in Whitefish is caring for the family.