Kay & JoAnn Nelson


My great uncle Ben Skogstad arrived in Coeur d’Alene from Wisconsin in the early 1900s and was a lumberman with the Blackwell Lumber Company. He was also an investor, financing many of the early homes in the area. He had many homes built in Coeur d’Alene. The home he had built in 1908 at 1114 Fourth Street was the home I lived in until I went to Moscow in 1960 to attend the University of Idaho as a junior transfer student. In 1916 Ben was one of six community leaders to organize the Northern Idaho Savings and Loan Company which eventually became First Federal Savings and Loan. He died in December 1942 and was buried in Forest Cemetery.

In April 1937, my parents, Marcella and Irvin Skogstad, moved from North Dakota to care for Ben who had lost his wife, daughter, and son-in-law within a short period of time. My father, Irvin, was an employee of the Idaho State Highway Department as a mechanic and machinist in their North Idaho

Shop Headquarters. My mother, Marcella, was a homemaker and active in many community projects—a Leader for Camp Fire Girls, a parent sponsor for Jobs Daughters, a Trinity Lutheran Church Sunday School Teacher, and a member of the PEO Sisterhood.

I was born in Coeur d’Alene in 1940 in the Community Hospital which is now Harris Dean Insurance Company. Between the time it was the Community Hospital and the Insurance Company, it was the Coeur d’Alene Public Library! I attended Bryan Grade School, the Junior High School on Seventh Street, and Coeur d’Alene High School on Fifteenth Street which is now Lakes Middle School. In 1958 I enrolled as a student at North Idaho College. I was elected as the secretary for the Associated Student Body. I transferred as a junior to the University of Idaho and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Education in 1962. I began teaching in Lewiston High School in 1962. I have been an instructor in Business and Office Technology at North Idaho College for 37 years. In between I earned a Master of Education Degree in Business Education and a Specialist Degree in Applied Technology from the University of Idaho.

In my birth year of 1940, the governor of Idaho was C. A. Bottolfsen, a relative of my uncle and father. Their relationship goes back to the late 1700s in Norway. He was the only newspaperman to serve as a governor of Idaho. He served two terms.

Irvin and Marcella Skogstad and Ben Skogstad - 1937

In 1962 I married a fellow student from the University of Idaho, K. V. (Kay) Nelson who grew up on a farm in Genesee, Idaho. He began his career in management for the J. C. Penney Company, worked as a computer programmer for the Old National Bank in Spokane, and retired as a computer science/business instructor at North Idaho College after a 27-year career in education. We were transferred to the Coeur d’Alene Penney store in 1965 which is now the location of the Resort Plaza! Kay earned both a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Idaho.

Our son, Erik, was born in 1964 in Clarkston, Washington. He graduated from Coeur d’Alene High School in 1982, the University of Idaho in 1986 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering, and from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland with an MD degree.

He is currently stationed at Wright-Patterson Medical Center in Dayton, Ohio as chief of the Anesthesia Department and with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. His wife, Nancy, is a speech pathologist, and they have three daughters—Emily, Aubrey, and Ashlyn.

Our daughter, Kristin, was born at Kootenai Medical Center in 1970. She graduated from Coeur d’Alene High School in 1988 and from Creighton University with a degree in Pharmacy and now lives in Spokane, Washington. She works in the anticoagulation department at Holy Family Hospital, and she and her husband, Jim Shelby, are parents of a daughter, Erika. Jim has a dental practice in Spokane.
When Kay and I returned to Coeur d’Alene in 1965, there was no Riverstone, no Silver Lake Mall, no Resort Hotel, and no theatres north of town. There was the Wilma Theatre in downtown Coeur d’Alene where I had seen movies as a young child. All of the shopping was in downtown Coeur d’Alene. There has been a great deal of change—one of the best being our new Coeur d’Alene Public Library Building!

When our children were growing up, some of our most memorable times were attending the Fourth of July parades and fireworks. I had attended them as a young child in the 1940s, we continued them with our children, and we continue the tradition today with our granddaughters!

Both Kay and I continue to be active in the community serving on many boards and supporting many fund-raising activities. Kay is a past president of the Coeur d’Alene Rotary Club and currently serves on the Kroc Center Board and the Jewett House Board. I am a member of the Opera Plus! Board, the Coeur d’Alene Homes Board, and the Coeur d’Alene Public Library Foundation Board as well as many committees at North Idaho College.

Jo Ann Skogstad - 1948
Jo Ann Skogstad Nelson, NIC classroom 1980's
Front Row: Aubrey, Emily, Ashlyn Nelson. Back Row: Nancy and Erik Nelson - 2006
Kay Nelson and Jo Ann Skogstad Nelson - faculty ready for graduation at NIC 1990's
Jim, Erika, and Kristin Shelby - Christmas 2005