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Shirley Nelson of Riverside

Shirley Ann Nelson (née Hetman) age 84 of Riverside, IL, passed away surrounded by her loving family on Tuesday, October 27, 2020. She was the beloved wife of Dr. William J. Nelson. Family and faith were the foundation of their 64-year marriage. Together they raised seven children with love and devotion: Ken (Karen), Bill, Tom (Anne), Jim (Marci), Rick (Maggie), Lori (Armando) Saltiel, and Tim (Ofe). Her amazing legacy also includes 19 grandchildren: Nicole (Jon) Utz, Jessica Saltiel, Cody (Yuliya), Justin (Casey), Julianne (Phil) Pedi, Jennifer Saltiel, David, Sarah, Jerett, Armando Saltiel, Jon, Candice, Kim (Alex) Furth, Paige, Marlea, Hannah, Joe, and Eduardo and Sophia Lopez, as well as seven great-grandchildren: Rylie, Jackson, Logan and Avery Utz; Gabriella and Julia Pedi; Noah Nelson; and three more on the way.

Shirley is also survived by her dear brothers Steve and Bobby (Marian) Hetman, sister Theresa (Bob) Terry and brother-in-law Dan Nesper, as well as numerous cousins, godchildren, nieces, and nephews, all of whom she cherished dearly.

“Grandma Shirley” was incredibly genuine, resilient, thoughtful, competitive, and loving; traits that she passed on to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She was an exceptional wife, mother, and grandmother, who built unique, special relationships with everyone in her family. Her kindness was constant and immeasurable and could be felt in her fabulous baked cookies and breads, her phone calls just to say “Hi!”and her presence and enthusiasm for every holiday, life event, and special occasion. She was a passionate dog lover and sports enthusiast who never missed a Bears or Cubs game … or the opportunity to use her sassy sense of humor to needle her Sox-loving offspring.

She was preceded in death by her parents Sophie (née Schabowski) and Steve Hetman, two infant daughters, and her sister Marilyn Nesper, all of whom she loved deeply.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Equestrian Connection, 600 North Bradley Road, Lake Forest, IL 60045. Donations can also be made through the company’s website at:
equestrianconnection.org. Please mention that your donation is being made in honor of Shirley Ann Nelson.

To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Shirley of Riverside, please visit our flower store.


Dear Dr. Nelson, We just learned of Shirleys passing from Dr. Janda and although much belated, we want to extend our deepest sympathies. We know how very special she was to you and your entire family. Never having met her is our loss.

Bill and Barb Gwodz Apr 20 2021 1:47 PM

Bill, Just found out Shirley is gone. Please accept my sincere condolences. She was my best friend in high school and I thought of her often over the years. You and Shirley will be in my prayers.

Arlene Payne, nee Smuda Dec 28 2020 6:47 PM

I love Shirley and have since the first day I met her when she came with her children to St. Marys. She has always been an inspiration to me as I watched how she was with her husband, boys and her only daughter. She is always to proud of all of them including her many grandchildren. Not one of them gets away without a word of praise or encouragement. She has always stood out to me as a woman of great courage and love. I loved talking to her over all these years, the vibrancy of her voice even when in great pain, her joy in living, her concern over every person she knew who was ill (and having so many docs in the familyshe knew many). What a model of kindness and great-heartedness to her whole family and all of us who have been privileged to know her. My prayers for all who miss her. She will make her continued love know to you!!

Sr Pat Bergen Nov 19 2020 4:29 PM

I was so sorry to hear this. Shirley will always hold a very special place in my heart. Much love to all of you.

Linda Dumas Nov 8 2020 6:13 PM

A great Lady An wonderful mother raised all her children well. A strong but affectionate personality. Lastly a kind forgiving person so nice to have a friend like her. Will be missing her after k owing her for last forty five years.

Dipankar Nov 6 2020 3:38 AM

For such a tiny woman, she had such great strength! My condolences to the Nelson family.

Dan Hunter-Smith Nov 3 2020 1:07 PM

I remember Shirley always happy and smiling, she loved her dogs. She will be missed by her family greatly.

Diane Novak Nov 3 2020 8:24 AM

A great Lady An wonderful mother raised all her children well. A strong but affectionate personality. Lastly a kind forgiving person so nice to have a friend like her. Will be missing her after knowing her for last forty five years.

Dipankar Nov 2 2020 11:01 PM

BLESSINGS to the entire Nelson family.

Irene Pill Nov 2 2020 7:17 PM

My prayers and condolences go out to the family; Shirley was a great lady with a great sense of humor.

Mary Ann Harrelson Nov 2 2020 5:14 PM

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