Cover photo for Sally Ann Nelson's Obituary
Sally Ann Nelson Profile Photo

Sally Ann Nelson

February 12, 1937 — September 16, 2023

Mankato, MN

Sally Ann Nelson


Sally Ann Nelson was born on February 12th, 1937 in Austin,  Minnesota. She died September 16th,  2023, at 86 years old.  Sally passed away peacefully in her apartment at The Pillars of Mankato, surrounded by her family.

Sally earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Education at age 37, and became a Speech Pathologist and Special Education Teacher.  She always had a passion for diamonds and fine jewelry.  After 14 years of working with students, Sally decided to quit teaching, cash in her retirement account, and open a jewelry store.  She went to several banks asking for financial start-up help before one bank finally agreed to loan her $45,000 at 21% interest.  Sally was thrilled that one banker believed in her and her vision, and this allowed her to launch her new jewelry business in 1980; Exclusively Diamonds.  Sally was a pioneer for women-owned businesses. Sally prevailed throughout the challenges along the way.  She was a passionate woman, who loved her clients and friends like family.

Sally loved to cook and published her own cookbook, “Nelson Family Recipes” - which friends and family still use today. Her favorite things to do included conversations with family and friends, walking, traveling, sewing, and making her specialty; lefsa for Thanksgiving & Christmas.

Sally retired from Exclusively Diamonds in 1998. She and her husband of 59 years, Clyde (Bob) Nelson, spent their winters in sunny Arizona and their summers in Minnesota.

Sally & Bob have two daughters, Sarah Person (Chris) of Mankato, MN, and Betsy Olson (Randy) of Scottsdale, Arizona. Her grandchildren are Carter Person (Neah), Maria Brown (Landon), Nancy Bartelt (Todd), Paul Olson (Laura). Sally also has eight great-grandchildren: Emilia & Lincoln Brown, Neva, Lincoln, Rowan and Vera Bartelt, and Evan & Mia Olson.

Sally is preceded in death by her parents, and her husband.

Sally’s Celebration of Life Service will be on Wednesday, September 20, 2023 at 11AM with visitation starting 1 hour before the service at Christ The King Lutheran Church, 222 Pfau Street, Mankato. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be donated to Christ the King Lutheran Church of Mankato, or MY Place at 1315 Stadium Road, Mankato, MN 56001; or visit

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Sally Ann Nelson, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

Christ the King Lutheran Church

222 Pfau St, Mankato, MN 56001

Service 11:00 a.m. Wednesday at Christ the King Lutheran. Visitation one hour before the service on Wednesday.

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Visits: 2459

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree