Nellie Madsen Jacobson, 90, passed away peacefully at her home of more than 61 years in Winton, CA on June 26, 2022, surrounded by her family. Funeral services will be held at the Atwater United Methodist Church at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, July 6, 2022. Visitation is between 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. at the church that same day.
Born on December 28, 1931, to Dethmer and Millie (Cochran) Kuil in Modesto, CA, Nellie grew up on the family farm outside of Ripon and attended a two-room country school.
After graduating from Ripon High School in 1949 and attending Modesto Junior College, she obtained a bachelor’s degree in education from San Jose State University in 1953. Nellie then taught several years in Pleasant Hill before marrying Robert Madsen in 1956 and moving to Ballico, CA. After welcoming son Greg (1957) and daughter Elaine (1959) into the family, Nellie and Bob bought a farm in Winton and moved there in May of 1961. Daughter Sandra arrived in 1962. Nellie taught first and third grade for over thirty years in Atwater, initially at Mitchell Elementary and then at Bellevue School.
Following Bob’s death in 1993, she met Les Jacobson through mutual friends. Les and Nellie were happily married more than 27 years before Les’s recent death. During both marriages, Nellie traveled extensively, visiting her family in the Netherlands and Bob’s family in Denmark as well as numerous countries on three other continents.
Nellie was a longtime member of both the Atwater and Merced United Methodist Churches and joined PEO’s Merced Chapter in 1990. She served as chapter president between 2006 and 2008. Nellie’s fierce devotion to her family, plainspoken yet loving advice, and gracious hospitality will be remembered by all who knew her. A strong, resourceful, and capable woman, Nellie also encouraged those around her to do their best. She will be missed.
Nellie is survived by her three children, Greg Madsen (Robin) and Sandra Bachand (Phil) of Davis, Elaine Harpster (David) of San Diego, seven grandchildren and three (soon to be four) great grandchildren. In addition, she is survived by Les’s three children, Gail Buelow, Andy Jacobson (Cam) and John Jacobson (Sandy), six grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
With the able help of Glenn, Bill and Craig Arnold, Nellie continued to be a conscientious steward of the family farm until the time of her death. In addition to the Arnolds, the family wishes to extend special thanks to Mike and Sandy Jeffrey for their steadfast support, and to Nellie’s at-home caregivers, Ramona Dacuyan, Phyllis Miller, Pat Martinez and Anita Stotesberry, for making her last months comfortable. Memorial contributions can be made to the Atwater United Methodist Church, to the Merced Rescue Mission, or to a charity of the donor’s choice.