Marjorie G. (Currey) Nelson, who with her husband, Bill, founded the Burnett County Sentinel, died Thursday, May 2. She was 94.
When Bill died in 1975, Marge continued operating the newspaper with her son, Gary. He would later purchase her share of the business and operated the newspaper until selling in 1994.
“She would always say ‘we put our work on public display every week for thousands to critique’ and she would add ‘we’re the only business that does that,’” Marge’s son Gary told the Sentinel. “Which is true in the paper business, thousands of people read and critique the work on a weekly basis.”
Nelson was born in a farmhouse in Ekdall, on May 10, 1924, to Walter T. and Olive M. V. Currey. After attending high school in Grantsburg, she attended Polk County Teachers College in St. Croix Falls and earned her degree at what is now UW-Superior.
While working as an elementary school teacher in Bruce, she met and married her husband, Wilbur (Bill) Nelson. They would go on to have three children together.
In October 1962, the Nelsons moved to Burnett County, which at the time was without a weekly newspaper. Bill and Marge founded the Burnett County Sentinel in Grantsburg, and the newspaper remained in the family for the next three decades. For many years, Marge also wrote an award-winning column, “This ‘N That” for the newspaper.
“She wrote that column for years,” Gary said of the column Marge wrote until 2008. “When they started the paper in 1962 there was a personality of the week column she would write. She always really enjoyed people stuff and learning things from people.”
Gary remembered a story of once Marge was in Washington D.C. for a newspaper conference and met President Ronald Reagan. Marge was told to stand near the doors and then would be able to shake the president’s hand.
“So, she made a beeline for the doors in the east room of the White House,” Gary explained. “She was in line and when he got to her she told him, ‘you’re much more handsome in person than you are on television.”
That comment led to a five-minute conversation between Marge and the commander in chief.
“Mom and Dad also once had breakfast at the governor’s mansion with Gov. (Warren) Knowles,” Gary said.
Marge was also a member of The
Order of the Eastern Star. Gary said,
“It was always very important to her.”
She was the first woman president of the Friends of Crex organization and was instrumental in making the Crex Meadows Visitors Center a reality. She also served a term as president of the Grantsburg Chamber of Commerce, and was involved in the Grantsburg Woman’s Club, Burnett Medical Center Auxiliary, American Legion Auxiliary, Centennial observance, other civic fundraising efforts, and many church committees. She enjoyed golfing, traveling, family get-togethers, and time spent with her many friends.