Shirley A. Nelson

Shirley Ann Nelson (née Hetman), 84, of Riverside, died surrounded by her loving family on Oct. 27, 2020. 

“Grandma Shirley” was incredibly genuine, resilient, thoughtful, competitive and loving, traits that she passed on to her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was an exceptional wife, mother and grandmother, who built unique, special relationships with everyone in her family. 

Her kindness was constant and immeasurable and could be felt in her fabulous baked cookies and breads, her phone calls just to say “Hi!” and her presence and enthusiasm for every holiday, life event and special occasion. 

She was a passionate dog lover and sports enthusiast who never missed a Bears or Cubs game … or the opportunity to use her sassy sense of humor to needle her Sox-loving offspring.

Ms. Nelson was preceded in death by her parents Sophie (née Schabowski) and Steve Hetman, two infant daughters and her sister, Marilyn Nesper, all of whom she loved deeply.

She was the wife of Dr. William J. Nelson. Family and faith were the foundation of their 64-year marriage. Together they raised seven children with love and devotion: Ken (Karen), Bill, Tom (Anne), Jim (Marci), Rick (Maggie), Lori (Armando) Saltiel and Tim (Ofe). 

Her amazing legacy also includes 19 grandchildren, Nicole (Jon) Utz, Jessica Saltiel, Cody (Yuliya), Justin (Casey), Julianne (Phil) Pedi, Jennifer Saltiel, David, Sarah, Jerett, Armando Saltiel, Jon, Candice, Kim (Alex) Furth, Paige, Marlea, Hannah, Joe and Eduardo and Sophia Lopez, as well as seven great-grandchildren, Rylie, Jackson, Logan and Avery Utz, Gabriella and Julia Pedi, Noah Nelson and three more on the way.

Shirley is also survived by her brothers Steve and Bobby (Marian) Hetman, her sister Theresa (Bob) Terry and brother-in-law Dan Nesper, as well as numerous cousins, godchildren, nieces, and nephews, all of whom she cherished dearly.

A private funeral service will be held at Notre Dame Church in Clarendon Hills, Illinois on Saturday, Nov. 14 at noon. Attendance at Mass is by invitation only. However, you are welcome to join via the Mass livestream link at

A celebration of Shirley’s life will be held this coming spring.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Equestrian Connection, 600 N. Bradley Road, Lake Forest, 60045. Donations can also be made through the company’s website at Please mention that your donation is being made in honor of Shirley Ann Nelson. 

Kuratko-Nosek Funeral Home, North Riverside, handled arrangements.