ALLOUEZ — Deacon Kenneth Nelesen, 82, died Jan. 31. He was ordained to the diaconate for the Diocese of Green Bay on May 6, 1978. Deacon Nelesen credited the late Fr. Leo Schmitt for introducing him to the diaconate program. He served at Holy Innocents Parish, Manitowoc, from 1978 to 2005, and then at St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Manitowoc, until his retirement in 2013.
Deacon Nelesen was born on July 23, 1937, in Sheboygan, the son of the late Raymond and Marie (Eirich) Nelesen. Following high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served from 1955 to 1958. He began his work in law enforcement in 1959 as a police officer for the City of Sheboygan. From 1963 to 1972, he served the Wisconsin State Patrol. He was chief deputy sheriff of Manitowoc County from 1978 until his retirement in 1992.
Deacon Nelesen’s ministry included serving as a diocesan tribunal field advocate, Virtus training facilitator and parish and school safe environment coordinator. He was a member of St. Francis of Assisi Men’s Choir for more than 53 years.
Deacon Nelesen is survived by his wife of 58 years, Carol (Seifert) Nelesen, Manitowoc; four children: Laura (Mitchell) Warner, Suamico; John Nelesen, Reedsville, and his girlfriend Dawn Sukowaty; Mary (Gary) Kernodle, Sullivan, Wis.; Paul Nelesen, Manitowoc, and his girlfriend Lisa Wiegert; eight grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, one sister, Kathleen Theobald, AZ; one brother, William Nelesen, Sheboygan; nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, one brother-in-law, and two nephews.
A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 7, at St. Francis of Assisi Church, 1121 North 14th St., Manitowoc. Bishop David Ricken will preside. Entombment with military honors will follow at Calvary Mausoleum, Manitowoc.