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73-year-old killed after tornado struck RV near Miller identified

Paul Dean Nelson
Paul Dean Nelson(Dakota News Now)
Published: Aug. 31, 2020 at 12:29 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - 73-year-old Paul Dean Nelson has been identified as the driver killed after a tornado struck his RV north of Miller on Sunday.

On Sunday, the National Weather Service in Aberdeen tweeted a photo of the tornado that touched down at 6:13 pm, just north of Miller.

The South Dakota Department of Public Safety says the RV was hauling a trailer with a small sedan on Highway 45 near mile marker 125 when the tornado touched down. The tornado crossed the highway from east to the west and caused the trailer to detach. The trailer and sedan came to rest in the west ditch and the RV came to rest on its roof 150-200 yards west of the roadway in a nearby field.

Courtesy: Reno Brueggeman
Courtesy: Reno Brueggeman(Dakota News Now)

Nelson was pronounced dead at the scene.

The South Dakota Highway Patrol is continuing to investigate.

You can read Nelson’s full obituary below.

Paul Dean Nelson died in a tornado accident north of Miller, SD August 30, 2020 while driving his motor coach. Paul was born July 5, 1947 in Aberdeen, SD to Lyle Arthur and Jessie Mason Nelson. He graduated from Gettysburg High School in 1965 and the University of South Dakota in 1969. He had nearly completed his Master’s Degree when his dad became ill and he knew he needed to return to the family farm.

He married Cheryl Ann Eggers April 3, 1971 in Sioux Falls SD at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church. They moved to Sully County and Paul started farming and dreaming.

Paul bought and raised cattle- building up a 3,000 head feedlot. As he explored other cattle feeding operations in other locations, he concluded he could not truly compete with bigger operations in warmer climates. He sold all the feedlot equipment, tore up miles of fence and began purchasing additional farm ground.

In 1992 he decided that harvesting pheasants in addition to crops would just maybe work. Thus began a 30 year building project culminating in The Paul Nelson Farm. Paul loved new and big ideas. He was the ultimate salesman and promoter. He believed “his prairie” was the most beautiful place in the world. He loved hosting clients from around the world who shared knowledge of their incredible businesses and expanded his horizons. His latest idea was “The Range” where he brought in the best military trained snipers in the world to teach guests how to hit a target a mile away.

The last 25 years, Paul and Cheryl travelled this great country in their motor coach and finally decided Outdoor Resort in Indio, CA was the best 4 -5 month winter destination for them.

Entrepreneurs see things differently. He was always exploring and creating. He truly appreciated and respected the people who worked so hard to make his dreams come true. He cherished his lifetime Gettysburg friends and was challenged by the wide range of interests his clients and RV friends brought to his life. He knew he was blessed.

Paul loved his family and is survived by his wife, Cheryl; two sons, Ryan Paul (Carmen) Sioux Falls, SD and Erik Lyle (Tami) Gettysburg SD; 4 grandchildren: Parker, Mitchell, Teagan and Cooper Nelson; and one brother, Dwayne (Juanita) Nelson Longmont, Colorado. His passion was attending his sons’ and grandchildren’s events. No one was prouder!

The family requests memorials for the new hospital sent to the Avera Gettysburg Foundation (606 E Garfield, Gettysburg SD 57442). Paul realized how vital this was to the community and to his business.

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