Dakota Diary ... Marion Nelson

Marion and Jim - 2006

Marion Nelson is a friendly member of the Philip community, and keeps herself busy with different projects around the house and town.

Marion and her husband, Jim, who passed away three years ago, have seven children. Beth and her husband, Dave Flom, live in Midland, Jeanne and her husband, Eric Hansen, live in Oregon, Kay and her husband, Tim Modde, live in Denver, CO, Joan was killed in a tragic car accident 11 years ago, Ruth and her husband, Fred Zebroski live in Lander, WY, Sue and her husband, Bob Titus, live near Boston, MA, and her son Mark and his wife, Karen, live on the Nelson ranch near Powell. Marion has 12 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.

Marion Hoag was born up north near the Cheyenne River, where her parents owned a small ranch. When she was three-years-old, Marion and her family moved into Philip, and her parents bought the Philip Lumber Company. They built, rented out and sold lots of homes that are in Philip yet today.

Marion attended grade and high school in Philip, and graduated from Philip High School in the spring of 1941. Right after high school, she started working for the telephone office in Philip. Back then, they used PBX boards to answer phone calls and later on they had lights that lit up when people would call in. At the telephone office, Marion answered phone calls, and sometimes worked the night shift doing tickets and figuring the books. At the same time as her telephone job, she also worked for L.S. Wheeler keeping records at his insurance company. She also got to pick out records for a nickelodeon that Wheeler owned in Philip. She also sorted and counted the nickels that people put into the nickelodeon player.

After working in Philip, Marion took the Civil Service exam at the post office in order to get a defense job during the time of World War II. After passing the exam, Marion went to Hill Field near Ogden, Utah, for a few months. She went to school there to learn the parts of a gun. It was her job to take the guns apart, clean the firing mechanisms and then reassemble them.

Next, Marion hopped on a train and headed to Los Angeles, CA, to work. She knew some people that lived there and heard it was fairly easy to get a job there. While in California, Marion worked for McDonnell Douglas. She worked on the assembly line doing plane riveting relays for main junction boxes inside planes.

After working in California for about two and a half years, Marion came back to Philip. She started working in the office for the local doctor. Shortly after moving back to Philip, Marion met up with her high school friend Jim Nelson. Jim was a B-24 bomber pilot in World War II and flew Liberator planes over Germany.

In 1949, Jim and Marion were married in Rapid City. They went to Denver, CO, for their honeymoon and ended up getting stranded in Wyoming on the way back. The big blizzard of the century had started just as they were heading back from Denver, and a few days later they made it back to Philip safety.

After marrying, the couple moved to a ranch near Powell where they resided for 30 years. They built onto Jim's grandpa and uncle's house, and started a family. Jim was a rancher and did a little farming, and Marion helped out. Marion said her years living on the Powell ranch were the best of her life. Her kids went to a little country school just three miles from their home. Marion and her family enjoyed riding horses, swimming and water skiing. Marion also loved sewing coats and dresses for her daughters.

In 1984, Jim and Marion moved into Philip and retired. While living in town, Marion and her daughter Beth owned a ceramic store, where they fired and painted ceramics.

In the past, Marion has taken a couple boat trips with her daughter Jeanne. Marion plans to go on a cruise right away next year with her family. She thoroughly enjoys traveling and has been many interesting places such as Jamaica, Hawaii, Paris, Alaska and the Bahamas to name a few.

Marion reads lots of books, does a little painting here and there, and is involved in the gardening club in Philip. Marion and her daughter, Beth, are currently working on making beaded curtains for her house. In her spare time, Marion loves to travel to see her children and grandchildren.

"I like Philip, and it's nice knowing mostly everyone. I love the friendliness of the community," Marion mentioned.

Marion has stayed very active in Philip over the past few years, and surely adds to the friendliness of the community.