Nelson, Lila Age 93, of Minneapolis. Lila passed away on May 26, 2015 as gracefully as she had lived. Weaver, artist, poet, scholar, teacher, mentor, voracious reader and wonderful friend, Lila was an inspiration to all who knew her. Preceded in death by her husband, Marion Nelson, mother Marie and father Amand Nentwich and sister Audrey Bennett. Survived by her niece Laurie Garland, her cousin Jean Olson, sister-in-law Varda Hanson, special friend Susan Merritt and many devoted friends. A native of Long Prairie, Minnesota, Lila began her career as a high school English teacher in Davenport, Iowa after graduating from St. Cloud State. She later completed a Master's in English at the University of Minnesota. Lila entered the Women's Air Force in 1949 and was stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. That same year she marched with her WAF unit in Harry S. Truman's inaugural parade. She was later stationed in Germany in the weather mapping division. Lila met her future husband when they were students at the University of Minnesota. They were married in Chicago on June 17, 1957 and honeymooned in Iceland and Norway. While Marion pursued his doctoral research, Lila attended the Oslo International Summer School. This was the beginning of a lifelong love of Norway and Norwegian culture. Her interest in weaving also began at this time. In the early 1960s Lila began training with Anna Smits at the Minnesota Weavers Guild of Minnesota. She became an active member and teacher at the Guild and lead the Scandinavian Weavers Study Group. In 1964 Marion and Lila were hired by Luther College to catalogue the collection of Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Decorah, Iowa. Lila became Registrar and eventually Textile Curator at the Museum. In this position she played a major role in the revival of traditional Norwegian weaving techniques in America. She also helped establish the museum's folk art handwork school as well as its weaving program. She retired in 1991, but continued as an honorary trustee on the board. In 2001 Lila was awarded the St. Olav medal by the King of Norway in recognition of her contributions to Norwegian-American culture. In 2006 she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts by Luther College. After her retirement she dedicated herself to tapestry weaving creating an exceptional body of work characterized by innovative imagery and witty, often provocative, political content. A special thanks to the staff of Lyngblomsten for their fine care during Lila's final years. A celebration of her life will be held at the Textile Center of Minnesota, 3000 University Ave. S. in Minneapolis on June 25th starting at 5:00 p.m. Memorials are preferred to the Weavers Guild of Minnesota, 3000 University Ave. S., Mpls 55414.
Published on June 21, 2015
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