Marion Vanette Nelson

16/03/1929 - 08/04/2023


Obituary For Marion Vanette Nelson

In Loving Memory Of Marion Vanette Nelson March 16, 1929 – April 8, 2023

Marion Vanette Nelson, nèe Lefebvre, a devoted music teacher and beloved mother of five, passed away peacefully in the early hours on April 8th, 2023, at the Grande Prairie Care Centre in Grande Prairie, Alberta. She was 94.

Marion was born in Minot, North Dakota in 1929, and discovered her love for music at a young age. She met her future husband, Gerald Nelson, while both were studying at Minot State Teachers College (now North Dakota State University). They married and had five children: Billy, Mary Jo, Julianne, Michael, and Cathy. They divorced in 1982.

In those college years, she played saxophone in the Forte Five, an all-girl dance band that she formed with her two sisters and two friends.

Marion was a gifted violinist and clarinetist, but her true passion was teaching. She and Gerald taught all five of their children to play musical instruments.

Marion's musical talents extended beyond her family. She was the lead 2nd violinist in the Grande Prairie College Community Orchestra, and lead clarinetist in the Grande Prairie College Community Band, both of which were founded and conducted by her then-husband, Gerald. She also had a successful violin and clarinet music studio for many years.

Marion was predeceased by her parents, William (Bill) (also a full-time instrumental music teacher) and Kathryn (Sully) Lefebvre, nèe Sullivan and her two sisters, Kaye and Lois Ann…both accomplished musicians. She was also preceded in death by two of her children, Julianne and Michael, who both lost their battles with cancer.

Despite her losses, Marion remained an inspiration to her family and friends, and continued to make music a significant part of her life.

Between closing her music studio and retiring, Marion spent her last years as a valued retail staff member at Grande Prairie Music, a store where she continued to share her love for music with the community she called home.

Marion's memory will live on through her surviving children, Billy, Mary Jo, and Cathy, her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and countless students whose lives she touched with her music and her kindness.

A celebration of Marion’s life will be announced at a later date.

Care entrusted to Bear Creek Funeral Home 780 830 7742

Photos & Video

Add New Photos & Video


  • 08/05/2023

    My condolences to Billy, Mary Jo, Kathy, and all their families 👪 RIP Marion.....

  • 18/04/2023

    I met Marion at Gr Pr Music. She was always so pleasant. We had many lovely conversations about life & family. My deepest and most sincere condolences.

  • 14/04/2023

    God bless you and hold you strong in his arms. We spent a lot of time together back in our working days. Working in connecting buildings made getting together very easy. You will be in my heart indefinitely Marion, Rest In Peace and I'll see you again.♥️🍃♥️🌸

  • 13/04/2023

    My sincere condolences, Billy, Mary Jo and Cathy Marion was a lovely lady, a true inspiration while teaching me violin and playing in the orchestra. She will be missed💗 Love Ann

  • 13/04/2023

    I have such fond memories of spending time at the Nelsons growing up. There was always a musical instrument playing In the background as the lessons were being taught. My sincere condolences to all of you on the loss of your Mom.

  • 12/04/2023

    My condolences Billy, Mary Jo and Cathy. When we moved to Grande Prairie I remember her leading me to the gymnasium of the old Montrose for my first Orchestral experience - a place I never really left. I was also a student of hers for awhile. Beautiful lady.

  • 12/04/2023

    When we arrived in GP in 1971 to take on my first teaching assignment as Band Teacher at the Montrose Jr High, I met Marion & Gerald Nelson. We had many a fond meeting with the "resident music couple". However, I feel so blessed to have met Marion and to learn about clarinet from her. Many times I would go into GP Music (formally Nelson's Music) and would chat with Marion and continue my education on teaching clarinet and saxophone. Marion always knew what were the best instruments "for the money" and she was a driving force at getting and keeping quality woodwind instruments in Grande Prairie. She will be missed by all. Mike Townsend, (Band Director and Coordinator of Music - GPPSD 1971-2009)

  • 12/04/2023

    Sincere condolences to Cathy Mary Jo and Billy. I remember your mum as a huge part of the music field when my family was growing and later as a helpful smiling sales lady at GP Music.

  • 12/04/2023

    "Tubby" was always known as my "Auntie". I remember when she would come to visit her sister, my Grandma Lois, in Saskatoon, she would always wake up and the first thing she would do is dust!!! I thought that was interesting because that's the last thing I would do when I wake up! But she was a well disciplined lady and was always so happy to be with her sisters and family, and I adored watching everyone together. She was so beautiful inside and out. I get to hold happy memories of Auntie Tubby in my heart, and I can still hear her unique voice... Love lives on, thanks to Auntie Tubby.

  • 11/04/2023

    So sorry for your loss Mary Jo, Cathy and Billy! It was a pleasure getting to know your mom while I was working in Mackenzie Place. Hold on tight to all your sweet memories of her! ❤️🥰❤️

Add a Candle

Click a candle below to add a candle to your message.

Send Flowers