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Mitsuko Aline Nelson (née Oshiro)

April 3, 1921 – June 4, 2023


After a brief hospital stay, Mitsuko (Mitsi) Nelson passed away peacefully at age 102. She leaves behind her daughters Patrice, Kathryn and Lori, son David, his wife Laurie and their children Michael and Linsey, her sister Lillian, sister-in-law Helen, and many cherished nieces and nephews.


Her parents, George (Gisei) and Tsuru Oshiro, were born in Okinawa, Japan. Their first home in Canada was in British Columbia and then they moved east to Kenora where  Grandpa worked as foreman in the CPR roundhouse. Shortly after, they began their family — first was Yoshiko, then Mitsi, followed by Jim, Hiro, Lillian, Tom and George.


Like many families, the Oshiros were hard workers, yet they struggled through the Depression years. In order to buy books for school, the older children spent their summer picking blueberries that they sold door-to-door. One summer, Mitsi and her brother Jim went with their parents to work on a strawberry farm in BC. After those experiences, she had no love for berry-picking. After she graduated from high school, Mitsi had various jobs that included housekeeping for a local family, manning the coal wagon scales at Kron’s, working as a dental receptionist, and recording court proceedings as a court reporter for Judge Earle Popham. 


The Second World War years and those immediately following were significant for Mitsi — her brother Jim left to go overseas with the Canadian Army, and the family moved from the company house at the CPR roundhouse to a new home on Second Street South. As Japanese Canadians, the members of her family were registered as enemy aliens and, as such, had limitations placed on their movement beyond Kenora. Also significant for Mitsi, was a young man named Earl Nelson, who returned to Kenora after serving overseas in the RCAF. 


A couple of years after Earl’s completion of university in 1950, their courtship began and he and Mitsi were married on November 20, 1954. Their four children were born between 1956-1959. In the late 1950s, Mitsi and Earl bought a lakefront home on Tunnel Island and they remained in that home until their passing (Earl in 2013). There, Mitsi hosted all her family and friends. She was a consummate hostess and always gracious, thinking of others before herself and showing that compassion right to the end. 


As the kids grew, Mitsi continued her work life as the office manager at Earl’s architectural office and she gamely went along with all the family adventures, from international travel to sailing and cross-country skiing and everything in between. If she wasn’t actually hands-on all the time, she was truly supportive of her family’s interests.


Her own interests revolved largely around music and she sang in the G-Clef Choir and the church choir for many years. She played the piano and the organ as well and she was often present at cultural events in Kenora.


Mitsi was introduced to First Baptist Church very early in her life. The relationships she formed there with her church family and the Lord were extremely important to her. In her last days on earth, she yearned to see her Lord and Saviour face to face. We can only imagine what a joyful meeting that was!


Many thanks to the compassionate nurses, doctors and technicians at the hospital who cared for Mitsi through her final days. We are very grateful to you for keeping her comfortable. 


A celebration of Mitsi Nelson’s life will be held at First Baptist Church on June 24, 2023, at 10:30 am. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to The Muse | Lake of the Woods Museum & Douglas Family Art Centre (at or First Baptist Church, 510 Second Street South, Kenora, ON, P9N 1G8. 

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