My father, Nelson Jonnes (1926-2011), passed away on 7 November 2011.  He was 85 and would have been 95 today.

On the occasion of Dad’s 80th birthday bash in 2006, I created a certificate in PowerPoint detailing many of his life accomplishments.  I had the idea because I was always struck by my father’s intellectual curiosity and his efforts to do well at so many different things.  He was a unique individual and something of a Renaissance man.

Dad’s one comment to me was that he was impressed I had figured out which technical areas of expertise he was most familiar with during his career at 3M (glass bead technologist, etc.).

Nelson Jonnes List of Accomplishments (Created by author in Powerpoint, 2006)

Here’s something funny though.  What I remember most about presenting the framed certificate to Dad was the argument he and his brother Doc got into right away about the reference to “first baseman!”  Doc scoffed at it and Dad argued that it was when he was on the Navy baseball team at Key West, Florida.  Doc still seemed skeptical.  Boys will be boys, or maybe I should say, brothers will be brothers!

Here’s Dad at that party, a pig roast attended by nearly 100 friends and family.  Hard to tell if he’s talking about the pig or talking to it!

Nelson Jonnes at 80th Birthday Pig Roast, 20 August 2006 (Photo by author)

Dad was not always the easiest person to photograph because he was sometimes self-conscious about posing, but below are several of his best through the years.

1944 – High school graduation, Circleville, Ohio (age 17)

Nelson Jonnes high school graduation photo, 1944 (Author’s collection)

Circa 1948 – His motorcycle (age 22)

Nelson Jonnes motorcycle, circa 1948 (Author’s collection)

August 1951 – Wedding (age 25)

Beverly Bonn and Nelson Jonnes wedding, Montevideo, Minnesota, 12 August 1951 (Author’s collection)

Summer 1963 – East Aurora, New York (age 36).  This might have been taken after buying the Volkswagen.

Nelson Jonnes with children in 1963 – Chris on far left (and cut off), Steven, Sara, Heidi – at Mill Road home, showing our two family cars, Volkswagen Bug and 1953 Dodge (Author’s collection)

June 1970 – Family trip to Bahamas (age 43)

Nelson Jonnes in Bahamas, 1970 (Author’s collection)

Circa 1980 – Green house, Stillwater, Minnesota (age 54).  Note Jake’s picture on shelf behind him.

Nelson Jonnes, circa 1980 (Author’s collection)

1997 – Return to Ethiopia (age 70)

Nelson Jonnes, Ethiopian highlands, 1997 (Author’s collection)

2000 – Nelson Jonnes holding a bust of his father at age 10, Stillwater, Minnesota (age 74)

Nelson Jonnes holding bust of his father Lloyd Jonnes, age 10, 2000 (Author’s collection)

June 2010 – Nelson with Bev in kitchen at lake house, Stillwater, Minnesota (age 83)

Nelson with Bev, Stillwater, Minnesota, 2010 (Photo by author)