Erwin Andrew Nelson passed away on April 19, 2019, at his home in Roseau at the age of 91.
I was lucky enough to interview Erwin for the book. It took a lot to get him to talk, but when I answered a lot of questions for him, I think he decided I was okay, and opened up and started telling me some great stories. He was one of the first that I interviewed who starting answering every question “I’ll tell you this, but you have to promise to check with Bob [Eastman] if it’s okay to put in the book!”
I think that says a lot about how much Erwin respected and cared for his friends and coworkers. We will all miss him.
Erwin was born in Roseau, MN, in 1927, and he married Leona Novacek in 1954. They raised their three daughters and enjoyed a beautiful life together until Leona passed away in 1982. Erwin was blessed with love again, and he and Marian Erickson married in 1985. Together, they continued to care for the farm and enjoyed over 30 years filled with laughter and travels.
Over the years, Erwin worked as a welder and at Polaris. While at Polaris, he became the lead mechanic for the racing team, including bein Bob Eastman’s mechanic. He often traveled for races and, during his time there, helped Polaris win World Championships in 1973, 1975, 1977 and 1978.
Erwin only made it through 8th grade, but he indeed had an engineer’s mind and was known as an excellent mechanic and welder. Whether working on a racing machine or farm machinery, he could fix anything and was always able to figure out a better, more efficient way or even how to create a new device to remedy any troubles.
Erwin loved spending time in his workshop and over the years created many beautiful wood working pieces. He had a sense of humor that enjoyed a good laugh at a corny joke or funny story and also had several quirky sayings that his girls and grandsons lovingly referred to as “Erwinisms”.
His faith and music were both essential to him, and his life was spent worshiping and being an active part of life at Bethel Lutheran Church of Stafford. More than anything, Erwin loved his family and the farm.
Erwin Nelson, 1975