“My entire life has been amazing grace … A total amazing grace, for which I have been eternally grateful.” – Grama Kay

Kathrine “Kay” Nelson Jenner died on February 8, 2018. She was the child of Swedish immigrants, and had a happy childhood full of dance lessons and performing in the USO at Soldiers Field on Lake Michigan.

She was twice married. First to Arvid, a trumpet player and father to their four children, and then to Tom, with whom she traveled the world.

Kay was a constant source of warmth and support for her children and grandchildren. Eventually, she turned her love for children into a career. She owned and operated Kay Nelson’s Children’s World, a preschool, for 25 years.

In 2011, after 84 years dancing around the suburbs of Chicago, Kay moved to Billings to be closer to her daughter, Kerry. She threw magnificent parties wherever she went, including a Scandinavian Festival at Mission Ridge on St. John’s campus. She adored the Crazy Mountains, Chase Hawks Rodeo and sale day at Stillwater County Fair, and felt a special belonging to the Community Congregational Church in Absarokee. Kay referred to these years in Montana as some of the happiest of her life. She often asked, “What did I do to deserve all of this?”

Kay was preceded in death by her beloved son, Ken.

Kay is loved and survived by her children Karl Nelson (Marilyn), Kerry Schmelzer (Lee), Kris Nelson (Pam); grandchildren Lara Stoll (Bryan), Tyler Nelson (Kim), Amy Cooper (Rick), Danny Larkin (Heather), Gabriel Nelson, Emma Schmelzer, Erik Nelson and Josh Nelson; and great-grandchildren Ryan Nelson (Kellie) Lexi, Taylor, Bella, Gabe, Kelsey, Grace and Alice, Ryder and Kyper. Just a few days after Kay left the world, her first great-great-grandchild, Amelia Rae, entered it.

Kay also leaves cherished friends and family in the Chicago area and throughout Sweden.

Thanks be to St. John’s and Senior Independence of Montana Hospice for bringing her joy, happiness and good care in her last years.