Mary Lou Nelsen was born on April 21, 1934, in Storm Lake, to Art and Opal (Lindberg) Nelsen. She graduated from Newell High School in 1952. Following graduation she worked in Storm Lake as a telephone operator.
On Feb. 5, 1956, Mary Lou was united in marriage to Don Cook at Nain Lutheran Church in Newell. They made their home near Nemaha, and together they raised three children: Deb, Dave and Brenda. She was a loving wife and mother, caring for her family and others, completing her CNA classes when her kids were grown and going to work at Loring Hospital. They moved to Albia in 1986 where she worked at the Monroe County Hospital. Mary Lou retired in the spring of 1999 when they moved back to Nemaha.
As a member of the United Methodist Church in Nemaha, Mary Lou also taught Sunday school and was a member of the UMW and Federated Women's Club. She enjoyed spending time golfing, sewing, fishing, having picnics, playing cards, gardening, playing scrabble, and taking walks with friends. She especially loved spending time with her family and grandchildren and traveling with Don. She will be greatly missed.
Survivors include her husband Don; children: Deb Cook of Omaha, Neb., Dave Cook and wife LuAnn of Nemaha, and Brenda Mentzer and husband Rick of Schaller; grandchildren: Adam Cook of Nevada, Andrea Cook of Ames, Ayla (Tim) Ericksen of England, Alyssa Ringgenberg of Arlington, Va., Austin and Hallie Mentzer of Schaller; great-grandson Karter Ericksen; and extended family members.
Mary Lou was preceded in death by her parents, Art and Opal Nelsen; parents-in-law, Merritt and Ruth Cook; niece Jolene Blass and nephew Brian Blass.
Memorial services will be held at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, April 14th, at the United Methodist Church in Nemaha, with Reverend Carl Benge officiating. Private family inurnment will be held at the Nemaha Cemetery under the direction of the Farber & Otteman Funeral Home.