Man dies when tornado blows RV off South Dakota highway

Paul Dean Nelson
Paul Dean Nelson(Dakota News Now)
Published: Aug. 31, 2020 at 1:24 PM MDT
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(AP) - A man driving a recreational vehicle died when a tornado blew it off the highway near the central South Dakota town of Miller, the state Department of Public Safety said Monday.

The man, 73-year-old Paul Dean Nelson, was driving an RV with a car trailer southbound on South Dakota Highway 45 when the tornado struck around 6:15 p.m. Sunday, about 13 miles north of Miller. The tornado crossed the road east to west.

According to a news release, the tornado caused the RV and trailer to detach. The trailer flipped in the west ditch, destroying the trailer and tossing the car away. The RV came down on its roof 150 to 200 yards west of the road in a cornfield.

The South Dakota Highway Patrol is investigating.

You can read Nelson’s full obituary below.

Paul Dean Nelson died in a tornado accident north of Miller, SD August 30, 2020, while driving his motorcoach. Paul was born July 5, 1947 in Aberdeen, SD to Lyle Arthur and Jessie Mason Nelson. He graduated from Gettysburg High School in 1965 and the University of South Dakota in 1969. He had nearly completed his Master’s Degree when his dad became ill and he knew he needed to return to the family farm.

He married Cheryl Ann Eggers April 3, 1971, in Sioux Falls, SD at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church. They moved to Sully County and Paul started farming and dreaming.

Paul bought and raised cattle- building up a 3,000 head feedlot. As he explored other cattle feeding operations in other locations, he concluded he could not truly compete with bigger operations in warmer climates. He sold all the feedlot equipment, tore up miles of fence and began purchasing additional farm ground.

In 1992 he decided that harvesting pheasants in addition to crops would just maybe work. Thus began a 30-year building project culminating in The Paul Nelson Farm. Paul loved new and big ideas. He was the ultimate salesman and promoter. He believed “his prairie” was the most beautiful place in the world. He loved hosting clients from around the world who shared knowledge of their incredible businesses and expanded his horizons. His latest idea was “The Range” where he brought in the best military-trained snipers in the world to teach guests how to hit a target a mile away.

The last 25 years, Paul and Cheryl traveled this great country in their motor coach and finally decided Outdoor Resort in Indio, CA was the best 4 -5-month winter destination for them.

Entrepreneurs see things differently. He was always exploring and creating. He truly appreciated and respected the people who worked so hard to make his dreams come true. He cherished his lifetime Gettysburg friends and was challenged by the wide range of interests his clients and RV friends brought to his life. He knew he was blessed.

Paul loved his family and is survived by his wife, Cheryl; two sons, Ryan Paul (Carmen) Sioux Falls, SD and Erik Lyle (Tami) Gettysburg SD; 4 grandchildren: Parker, Mitchell, Teagan and Cooper Nelson; and one brother, Dwayne (Juanita) Nelson Longmont, Colorado. His passion was attending his sons’ and grandchildren’s events. No one was prouder!

The family requests memorials for the new hospital sent to the Avera Gettysburg Foundation (606 E Garfield, Gettysburg SD 57442). Paul realized how vital this was to the community and to his business.

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