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Mary Ann Nelles, of St. Michael, age 78, passed away August 31 from complications from ALS and Parkinson’s Disease. She was the oldest of nine children born to Louis and Agnes Nelles who raised the family on their farm south of Fletcher. She was a big sister to her siblings Rose, Joe, Louis, Aggie, John, Fran (Kandy) and Teri (Brendan). She was also sister to Andrew, who died as an infant. She was a fantastic aunt to her nephews Michael, Reid, Francis, Marcus, Thomas, and Peter and niece, Paige. She was great-aunt to four nieces and a nephew.

After attending St. Walburga School and graduating from St. Michael Catholic High School in 1961, Mary Ann delayed her entry to the work force for a year to help her mother with the newest baby. She went to work at Northwest Bank in Osseo for about a decade, then to The Pillsbury Company where she worked in flour marketing for 30 plus years. Mary’s commitment to Pillsbury was strong, and she expected her family to follow suit by purchasing only Pillsbury flour and other products! She had many good friends throughout her career, many of whom have been so supportive in her illness.

Inspired by some of her workmates who ran, Mary decided to train for the Twin Cities Marathon before she turned 40 and did so. She completed the 1983 Twin Cities event on a warm muggy day in October. She didn’t run much more after that but always kept up with her walking and diligent care for her health.

Mary Ann was active as an alumna of the St. Michael Catholic School Class of 1961, organizing reunions and enjoying deep connections with classmates. She taught religion in St. Michael when she moved from her home in New Hope. She was active in her homeowner association as board secretary and community member at The Landings on the Crow River in St. Michael. She enjoyed long walks on the river road path where she efficiently picked up litter while she walked and was known by neighbors for doing so. She kept up these three-mile walks daily for many years, and she expressed to family that she “had a lot to pray for” along these strolls.

Mary Ann loved sending cards of encouragement and supporting people in whatever way she could as she walked their journeys with them. Her memory was impeccable for people’s birthdays, anniversaries, and special occasions. She regretted that she couldn’t keep in touch with people due to not being able to write, and eventually, unable to use her phone, but she kept all those to whom she would have written in her heart.

Mary Ann encouraged her siblings, nephews, and niece in their career, athletic, academic, musical, religious, and romantic pursuits, praying for these and the intentions of her friends and extended family. She was a dedicated aunt, spending hours as babysitter, caretaker, and supervisor of her rowdy and beloved nephews and niece, helping her brother and sister raise them to be the men and woman they are today. She was very interested in everyone getting the most out of life and celebrating both hard work and hard play. Her chocolate chip cookies were always in demand! She shipped them throughout the country and to Spain to Navy nephew Francis and made many dozen for the main dessert at niece Paige and Sam’s wedding in 2020.

Mary Ann lived a saintly, humble, and dedicated life. Her love for her family and friends is evidenced by the many who grieve her passing. She ran the good race. Those who preceded her in death and those whom she leaves behind celebrate her crossing of her final finish line at the gates of heaven into her well-earned eternal rest.

Visitation will be held Sunday, September 18, 2022 from 4:00 – 7:00 PM at The Peterson Chapel in St. Michael, Minnesota. A brief prayer service will begin at 5:00 PM.

Memorial Mass of Christian Burial will be held Monday, September 19, 2022 at 11:00 AM with visitation one hour prior at St. Michael Catholic Church in St. Michael, Minnesota. Inurnment will take place at St. Walburga Cemetery in Fletcher, Minnesota. For those who cannot attend, the service will be livestreamed via the church website:

Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to The Peterson Chapel of St. Michael-Albertville. Online condolences for the family may be directed to

Memorials may be directed to the ALS Association in Mary Ann’s honor: Dedicated to Finding a Cure for ALS | The ALS Association

5 Guestbook Entries

  1. Ceace Fehn Haagensen

    My sympathy to the Nelles Family in the loss of your sister Mary Ann.

  2. Roxie Davis

    Worked with Mary Ann at Pillsbury for many years. She was such a sweet, kind soul.


    Remembering all the times we walked back and forth thru the fields to play at each other’s homes. Such fun we had. MY sympathy to all
    the Nelles family.
    RIP Mary Ann

  4. Jim Fisher

    I remember Mary Ann fondly from my days at Pillsbury. She was one of the sweetest people I’d ever run across.

  5. Kristine Steffens & James Steffens

    Mary you were a wonderful and spiritual woman. Continue your great work in your new life. Krissy and Jim Steffens.


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