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Published: Wednesday, 3/8/2006

Ex-court reporter was well-liked

Vernerd A. Nelson, 65, a longtime court reporter in Lucas County Common Pleas Court who was respected for his skill and liked for his sound judgment and lack of pretense, died of cancer Saturday in Toledo Hospital.

Mr. Nelson, of West Toledo, retired in 2002 after 31 years with the court, 16 years of which he worked in the courtroom of William Skow, then a Lucas County Common Pleas Court judge. Before that, he worked for the late Lucas County Common Pleas Judge George Kiroff. "He was probably the best-liked guy who walked the halls of that courthouse over the last 30, 35 years," said Judge Skow, now on Ohio's 6th District Court of Appeals.

A native of the Minneapolis area, he was called "the Minnesota mensch" or "the man," friends and colleagues said.

"Vern was our rock," said Kelly Wingate, a court reporter and longtime friend. "He was what a court reporter should be: He kept secrets and did his job. He did not like fake people. He was as real as they come. He was like a friend and a dad and mentor."

He could discuss politics or literature or music, Judge Skow said. He hunted and fished and followed NASCAR.

"He was a man's man," Judge Skow said. Mr. Nelson equipped his garage with two televisions, a refrigerator, and kerosene heater, a recliner, and invited friends over to watch sports.

"Vern's garage was his castle," his wife, Jackie, said. "He loved the outdoors. This man would snowplow the whole neighborhood. I'd have to tell him to come in."

He was an Air Force veteran of the Vietnam War.

Surviving are his wife, Jackie, whom he married Dec. 28, 1979; daughter, Susan Morgan; son, Eric S. Nelson; sisters, Carolyn Rask, Dorothy Hein, Nancy Link, and Susan Nelson, and two grandchildren.

At Mr. Nelson's request, there will be no visitation or services. Family and friends will be scheduling a wake. Arrangements are by the Hanneman Funeral Home. The family suggests tributes to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society; Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity, or St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

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