ForeverMissed
Welcome to Fern's memorial website.  Due to the pandemic, we felt it would be better to not gather in person and we hope this platform will be a good substitute.  Please look around, read the tributes and stories, view the photos, and add any contributions of your own if you'd like.  Anyone can add photos, audio, video, or text by clicking the contribute button at the bottom right.  I would encourage you to check back later to see what's been added by others.

In lieu of flowers and cards, the family would like to suggest a donation could be made to The Salvation Army or Roscoe United Methodist Church in Fern's honor.  

Click Here for Roscoe United Methodist Church

Click Here for The Salvation Army

Please contact Golden if you need help leaving a tribute or story.  I can post things for you.  Goldylocks523@gmail.com
Posted by Nancy Hulfachor on March 28, 2021
Fern Nelson was a very talented person. She was always positive and saw the good in all people. Her best trait was, Fern's ability to live her faith! Heaven is welcoming her for her GREAT example on how to be a true Christian.
     
Posted by Jason Young on March 21, 2021
Grandma and Great Grandma Fern,
You were a very special and amazing person! All the great family times at your house. The home made dinners with fresh vegetables and fruit from your huge annual garden. The fresh amazing desserts were the best! The sports games in the backyard with the cousins, bumper pool tournaments, playing cards, the sleep overs, and the famous Swedish pancakes for breakfast. Did you have 2 pancake pans going to feed all the grandkids? I know multiple batches were made for sure. I still remember the fresh cheese curds from the cheese factory across the street from Great Grandpa and Grandma’s house in Boscobel, WI. And can’t forget the Friday night family fish fry at Ralph’s.

I will always remember the car trip we took when I was in 3rd grade. We saw Aunt Pam in Bizbee, AZ. Took a tour of a mine, saw roadrunners, and toured the Grand Canyon. We stopped in Phoenix, AZ and spent time with the Malm’s. Lots of swimming and a day at the great Big Surf Water Park. Then off to CA where we went to Disney Land and finally down to the San Diego zoo. 

You took pride in taking care of your house, the yard, the garden, and the animals that would come to visit you and Grandpa. You always looked for the positives and never complained. You were hard working, strong, caring, generous, smart, and loving. You were very handy inside and outside the house - find a solution and fix it.

Thank you for everything! 
We will always love you and remember you!
Jason, Stacey, Morgan, and Sydney Young
XOXOXOXO
Posted by Alyssa Jelinski on March 17, 2021
My Dear Great Aunt Fern was a very special person. She was always one to remember our birthdays or any special events. Always wanted to talk and show us she cares about ourselves and important events in our lives. Feels like not long ago when I just saw her at the cottage. She was one who loved to gather with family. Aunt Fern will never be forgotten. Love you, Aunt Fern.
Posted by Dottie Unbehaun on March 16, 2021
Dottie Unbehaun, "Sister in Law"

When Fern's brother, Gay and I were first married, Fern was already married and a mom to Diane. I looked up to her for answers and advice. No one will ever take her place. I love you Fern and I know that you are in God's precious hands.
Posted by Pamela Erickson- Valley V... on March 13, 2021
I became friends with Fern back in the 70's. We were Election Judges at the Ledges Club house. We had a great time doing that and over the years became friends sharing our interest in many things. Gardening, we both liked yard work and always enjoyed just visiting and sharing a laugh. In later years I would always make a evergreen wreath for her to take to Wisconsin to her parents grave sight. She was faithful in remembering them as will all her friends will remember her with a fond and loving way. We will miss you Fern. I will always cherish my memories. Love all the pictures. Prayers to the Family.
Posted by Kirby Weeden on March 11, 2021
In recent years I relied on Fern to keep me connected to the Weeden family. Her mother Helen was my half sister so Fern was my half niece but because of the age difference between Helen and me, I felt that Fern was more like my cousin. I looked forward to her Christmas letters and shall miss her like others our age who are passing away. My condolences and blessings to her family.
Posted by Ginny Leuzinger on March 11, 2021
Hi to Fern's family, I am her cousin Ginny from Monroe Wi. I cherish the past few years that Fern and Diane would stop in Monroe for a breakfast on their way to Blue River to decorate at the cemetery. The Swiss Colony Outlet Store was also a visit for them, plus, as an employee of The Swiss Colony, I helped her with her Christmas list mailing order! We would chat on the phone in-between our visits. Fern was such a kind sweet soul, I will never forget her! All of you have such precious memories that will fill your hears forever. Hugs and lots of Love to her family. Ginny
Posted by Golden Vansant on March 10, 2021
My grandma Fern was one of a kind. As I sit and reflect on her influence on my life, the main themes that come to mind are the example she set and her love. Fern was practically perfect in every way--to steal a line from Mary Poppins. It came naturally to her, and yet she set such a lofty example for the rest of us for how to live and how to love others. 

She was thoughtful. I never went a birthday or Christmas without a card, but it didn’t stop there. She noticed and celebrated all my big life events. I believe she did that for the rest of her loved ones as well. She kept a calendar in the kitchen and it was filled with everyone’s milestones so that she could reach out on each special day.  When I would call, her voice showed her delight in hearing from me in the “Hi Golden!” she would exclaim. We would spend long stretches on the phone, catching up and trying to solve problems I needed help with. It is wonderful to have someone make you feel so loved. Every time we’d visit her, she would prepare our favorite dishes for us. Mine was her famous Swedish pancakes, and my mom’s was banana cream pie. I think we always left our visits a few pounds heavier and a great deal happier.

She worked extremely hard, even into her last year. She maintained her house and property with such care. After every storm she would be found picking up sticks that had fallen from her many beautiful trees. She got out on her John Deere mower and took care of her massive lawn herself. She kept beautiful gardens of flowers and vegetables. She was a wonderful seamstress, could probably fix almost anything around the house, and never left a problem or chore abandoned for long. She was proactive. She also kept a busy schedule between social groups, her church, and her family. She handled her own affairs and finances, but she was also entrusted to do that for others. I can only aspire to be as capable and as disciplined as Fern now, let alone in advanced age. 
She was also well-respected and liked by those who crossed paths with her. It was due to her grace and charm, but also to the notion that she truly cared about people. She was active in her church and found great comfort and meaning in that community.  She tried to help wherever she could. Her no-nonsense approach to life was also tempered with the ability to slow down, see the beauty in things, and enjoy herself. She loved to laugh. In fact, there was often a twinkle in her eye as she would listen to you tell a joke or a funny story. She was not uptight or overly reserved. She clearly appreciated humor. She was also never the center of attention. Yet, she was truly someone you wanted to spend time with because it was pleasant to be around her. For a lady so small in stature, Fern had a giant influence in my heart and I am lucky to have known her.
As the years went by and I had to stoop ever lower to give her a hug and kiss, I knew this day would come eventually. I knew it would be extremely hard to let such a wonderful person go. I don’t know how to fill this hole in my heart that she occupied, so I will have to find ways to remember and honor her. I will forever be grateful for Fern’s love and example and I will cherish my memories of our time together.
Posted by Golden Vansant on March 10, 2021
Posted for Kristie Unbehaun Jelinski

Aunt Fern always remembered birthdays and anniversaries. She had the most beautiful cursive handwriting. I've complimented her in the past and she humbly replied, "I just write like I was taught." She was also a perfectionist seamstress. Many Christmas gifts from her were homemade, comfy flannel nightgowns. My first pet, Midnight the cat was also a welcome gift from her. Our family visited them in Illinois and for some reason they needed a home for their cat, so my Dad, Gaylord in his always welcome mode, granted us permission to take the cat. I do not remember a thing about our visit at her home that day or weekend, but I do vividly recall her standing outside waving and smiling (like usual) as we settled into the car and drove off. Midnight meowed the entire way home while hunkering down under the seat of the car. As we stopped for gas, the cat tried to escape out the window, but Mom grabbed it and saved the attempt.  The cat probably knew how kind and sweet Aunt Fern was and didn't want to leave her. Midnight was traumatized for life and hated any future car ride.

Aunt Fern brought Swiss Colony butter toffee candy as a treat for our Madison, WI Unbehaun Christmas gatherings at the Ramada Inn. Her cousin Ginnie worked at Swiss Colony. Cousin Julie loved the candy the best, so Aunt Fern started sending Julie a box. We began receiving a tin box Thanksgiving, 2010 and many years following.  I always called Aunt Fern to thank her and she said she wanted to be fair, so she started sending it to her girl nieces. Sorry guys, not sure why you weren't on the receiving end, but I know she loved you all. 

Aunt Fern was an attentive listener. One summer at the cottage she and I were the first ones awake very early.  We sat quietly having a heart to heart conversation. She and I also had a special conversation November 16, 2014 as we were outside my folk's Brillion home brushing snow off her car. She was preparing to travel back to IL after she had spent some days with us as my Dad was passing. She carefully put her cell phone in her cup holder saying she wanted it close by and not on the seat as it may slide off. Thankfully, she didn't need to use it in her driving days. 

I last talked to her February 11, 2021. We had an enjoyable hour visit as she recalled memories of her days growing up in Avoca and Blue River. I told her I'd been rereading Dad's autobiography and recalled how remorseful he felt when he accidentally injured her with the pitch fork. I told her Dad always carried the vivid recall of that incident and wanted to apologize again in later years, but the vivid recall made him feel awful.  Aunt Fern said she always forgave him, but it hurt her more because she had to get a tetanus shot that day and had to miss a date because she was in more pain from the shot than the puncture. Canceled dates seemed to be a trend from her sister and brother. 

She had a sweet joy in her voice and a few chuckles the longer she reminisced. She said it was getting harder for her to hear and she was so grateful Dianne was her caregiver and able to be her eyes and ears and attend appointments with her.  She said she felt badly Dianne had to do so much for her. I reminded her she brought her kids into this world and had cared for them, so now the favor was being returned.  She spoke highly of her family and was so grateful to have such supportive loving Unbehaun and Nelson families. Thank you Aunt Fern for being a perfect role model for all of us. May we carry on your traits with our own families.  As you quietly sheltered in place in 2020 and wondered some days, this would have been positive morale boosting reading material for you. May your days be filled now with healthy reward and peace. 
Posted by Allen Unbehaun on March 10, 2021
This website is beautiful, a tribute to a really neat lady, who happened to be my first cousin. Fern was always so comfortable to be around. I have many good memories and I will miss you cousin Fern.
Posted by Amy Devera (Devera) Gallu... on March 8, 2021
Beautiful pictures.  The big family picture brought tears to my eyes.  So many memories at the house in the Ledges. Fern is reunited with her true love Uncle Frank and those that have gone before her.. RIP  My heart goes out to Beth, Betsy and the rest of the kids and grandkids...
Posted by Duey Unbehaun on March 8, 2021
Aunt Fern always had a smile and a kind word for us. She is an integral part of my very young and fond memories of being at Grandpa and Grandmas farm in Blue River. She always seemed confident and wise to me. She understood the farm, loved the outdoors, and had many stories about the Blue River area and its interesting people. I enjoyed getting together for Christmas in Madison with her and you could be certain that she would bring an abundance of great food. She was fun to be with at the cottage. She was always ready for a boat ride and again she always brought something great to eat. For some reason, I most vividly remember washing and drying dishes at the cottage with her. I thoroughly enjoyed her stories but mostly I loved her quiet chuckle that often interrupted the story.
Thank you for loving us Aunt Fern. We love you and we will miss you terribly, but we are excited for your next adventure and we know you are in Gods presence. I’m sure He is so glad to have you back home and He is saying, “Well done my good and faithful servant”.
Posted by Jane Hicks on March 8, 2021
Posted for Janel Hicks
My Great Aunt Fern was one of the most thoughtful and loving people I knew. I'm so blessed to have her in my family. I pray each of her loved ones find ways to remember, honor, and celebrate her. Rest in peace Aunt Fern.
Posted by Golden Vansant on March 8, 2021
Posted for Mary Fillner
My sister was wise. She knew how to "do stuff." I'm talking practical "stuff" like fixing electrical, plumbing, finance and property management, mending and sewing, yard and garden care, etc. She played the trombone in high school band. She played the violin. She was valedictorian of her class. She organized neighbor and friendship groups. She loved her church friends and she loved us, her family and her unrelated friends she met and enjoyed over the years. She cast a wide net to enrich all of our lives. I was proud to have her as my sister.
Posted by Jane Hicks on March 8, 2021
One of my older memories was visiting Aunt Fern's house with all the family after Grandma and Grandpa Unbehaun returned from visiting Hawaii. They were both wearing Hawaiian outfits. They brought leis and hula skirts and we danced in the front room. We had such a good time together. Other fond memories were our visits to WI from Indiana and later Pennsylvania. The welcome mat was always open and we looked forward to visiting Aunt Fern and Uncle Frank. They always made us feel welcome with a place to sleep an a good meal to eat. Aunt Fern was always was so thoughtful to remember all of our birthdays and special events every year. This was Fern's spiritual gift to others. We love and will miss you.
Posted by Julie Deshler on March 7, 2021
What a wonderful website and tribute for Aunt Fern.  She was a remarkable woman and will be very much missed by all who were lucky enough to have known her.  Prayers go out to Dianne, Bill, Pam and extended family members and friends during this difficult time.  Rest In Peace Aunt Fern and always know you will be dearly missed but never, ever forgotten. 

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Nancy Hulfachor on March 28, 2021
Fern Nelson was a very talented person. She was always positive and saw the good in all people. Her best trait was, Fern's ability to live her faith! Heaven is welcoming her for her GREAT example on how to be a true Christian.
     
Posted by Jason Young on March 21, 2021
Grandma and Great Grandma Fern,
You were a very special and amazing person! All the great family times at your house. The home made dinners with fresh vegetables and fruit from your huge annual garden. The fresh amazing desserts were the best! The sports games in the backyard with the cousins, bumper pool tournaments, playing cards, the sleep overs, and the famous Swedish pancakes for breakfast. Did you have 2 pancake pans going to feed all the grandkids? I know multiple batches were made for sure. I still remember the fresh cheese curds from the cheese factory across the street from Great Grandpa and Grandma’s house in Boscobel, WI. And can’t forget the Friday night family fish fry at Ralph’s.

I will always remember the car trip we took when I was in 3rd grade. We saw Aunt Pam in Bizbee, AZ. Took a tour of a mine, saw roadrunners, and toured the Grand Canyon. We stopped in Phoenix, AZ and spent time with the Malm’s. Lots of swimming and a day at the great Big Surf Water Park. Then off to CA where we went to Disney Land and finally down to the San Diego zoo. 

You took pride in taking care of your house, the yard, the garden, and the animals that would come to visit you and Grandpa. You always looked for the positives and never complained. You were hard working, strong, caring, generous, smart, and loving. You were very handy inside and outside the house - find a solution and fix it.

Thank you for everything! 
We will always love you and remember you!
Jason, Stacey, Morgan, and Sydney Young
XOXOXOXO
Posted by Alyssa Jelinski on March 17, 2021
My Dear Great Aunt Fern was a very special person. She was always one to remember our birthdays or any special events. Always wanted to talk and show us she cares about ourselves and important events in our lives. Feels like not long ago when I just saw her at the cottage. She was one who loved to gather with family. Aunt Fern will never be forgotten. Love you, Aunt Fern.
her Life
Fern was born on August 23, 1930 in Richland County, WI.  She was the daughter of Keith and Helen Weeden Unbehaun.  She attended Avoca and Blue River, WI schools, graduating in 1948.  Fern married Gervase Bailey in 1948 and had three children.  She divorced in 1972 and then found her love and partner Frank S. Nelson.  They married in Rockford in 1974 and spent the next four decades creating beautiful memories through travel, time with family and friends, and through service to the community.  Her love of travel took her to the southwest, Alaska, the west coast, Hawaii, and Germany, among other places.  The couple even hiked the Grand Canyon after which she temporarily lost her toenails!  
Fern was employed for 20 years by the Amerock Corporation then in real estate sales for another 22 years.  She was a member of Roscoe United Methodist Church and was a trustee for many years.  She was also a member of the former Ledges Board of Directors.  
Her home was the site of countless gatherings and events, always filled with hospitality and Fern's wonderful cooking.  She always noticed the beauty in nature and people.  She was a warm and thoughtful woman who enjoyed working with and getting to know others.  Fern will be remembered as much for her strength and practicality as for her kindness and generosity.   
She is survived by daughters, Dianne (Wayne) Young of Roscoe, Pamela Bailey of Modesto, CA, and son, William (Zita) Bailey of Rockford, IL.  Her stepchildren include Frank (Ilene) Nelson, Jr. of Olympia, WA and Beth (John) Watson of Lacey, WA.  Grandchildren Corey (Maribel) Young of Pharr, TX, Jason (Stacey) Young of Pasadena, CA, Golden (Ryan) Battleson of Medford, OR, Vincent Bailey of Modesto, CA, Josh (Randi) Watson and Kirsten (Pete) Iversen of Seattle, WA.  Her great grandchildren include Morgan and Sydney Young of Pasadena, CA and Walter Lou Battleson of Medford, OR.
Fern passed away peacefully after a brief time in hospice care on March 6, 2021.
Recent stories

Fern on Quarantine in 1946

Shared by Golden Vansant on March 8, 2021
Posted for Mary Fillner
 This year because of people testing positive for covid and being on quarantine, I thought back to Fern's High School years.  In those days when any home had someone diagnosed with measles, mumps, chicken pox, scarlet fever, the Community Health Dept came out to the home and posted a sign on the door stating the disease name and then putting the household members on quarantine.  No one questioned it, we just obeyed.
 Well, I was diagnosed with scarlet fever.  The sign went on our house door.  My sister, Fern was anticipating her High School Prom.  She was not a "Happy Camper."  She had to miss her big date night. 
 I really did feel sorry for her as I didn't want that for her either.