Craig Glen Nelson, age 49 of Grafton, ND, formerly of Reeder, ND, passed away peacefully surrounded by his mother, sister Audrey via phone and loving caregivers at the Life Skills & Transition Center in Grafton on Sunday, September 8, 2019.
Craig G. Nelson was born February 11, 1970 in Dickinson, ND to Ardell Rae Stafne-Nelson and the late Chester R. Nelson. He was baptized at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Reeder. He attended school at the School of Promise, the Bowman Public School and Dickinson Public School. Craig lived in Jamestown and Grafton as an adult. He worked at a packaging factory in Jamestown, Black Hills Special Services Co-op, and various jobs in Grafton.
Craig participated in Special Olympics where he won various gold and silver medals and ribbons. Craig was active in the Lutheran Church anywhere he lived. He had a personal relationship with the Lord and was a true prayer warrior. He loved music, swimming, riding bike, family vacations, and trains especially rides on Amtrak to Williston. He also liked to ride horse and being the trickster he was, rode his pony into a kitchen on a ranch north of Bowman.
Craig was chosen to change lives with those diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. His impact in life and in death will reverberate around the world. He became a brain donor upon his death for the autism consortium which includes, Autism Speaks, Harvard University and UC Davis for Autism Research. In January 2019, his life story was shared with the 66th Legislative Assembly. His mother testified on his behalf, of the debilitating medical condition that Autism Spectrum Disorder can be, and the need for alternative solutions to pharmaceuticals. It laid the foundation for the passing of the North Dakota Medical Cannabis HB 1519 bill.
Craig is survived by his mother, Ardell R. Stafne-Nelson, Hettinger, ND, siblings: Ryan C. Nelson, Reeder, ND; Audrey (Dana) Nelson-Cihak, Valley City, ND; Loralyn (Brendan) Joyce, Bismarck, ND and Kirsten (Rich) Matthews, Marquette, MI; nieces and nephews: McKinsey Jahner, Aurora Nelson, Morgan Matthews, Erin Joyce, Thomas Matthews, and Sean Joyce; aunt: Ardyth Jeszenka; uncle: Kevan (Gertrude) Stafne, and numerous cousins, extended family of the Life Skills & Transition Center and his best friend Glenn Hawn, Bowman. He is preceded in death by his father, his grandparents: Arne and Norma Stafne, Ingval and Gina Nelson and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, and loving caregivers.
Memorial services will be Monday, September 30, 2019 at 1:45PM at the All Faith’s Chapel of Grafton, ND on the grounds of the Life Skills and Transition Center. Visitation will be for one hour prior to the service. Inurnment and a celebration of life will take place in June 2020 in the Hettinger, ND area.