Virginia Ann Nelsen, 71, died November 16, 2018, at Sanford Hospital. A public Celebration of Life Service will be planned for spring of 2019 at the North Dakota State Heritage Center and Museum. A private burial and prayer service will be held. 
Virginia was born on June 15, 1947, in Grand Forks to Robert Nelsen and Lillian Thompson. She was proud of her Danish and Norwegian ancestry.
She studied English Education at the University of North Dakota. Many of her proudest accomplishments were through her work as a high school teacher on the Standing Rock Reservation in Solen. She developed Native American Studies Curriculum for her students that did not exist when she started teaching. The relationships she formed with teachers and students during these years were very important to her.
After teaching, Virginia started a gift store in downtown Bismarck called Yes, Virginia. During this time she met John Halloran who ran his own import and gift store. They married in 1978 and combined their businesses and lives. Virginia and John loved to entertain friends and family and enjoyed their years running the store together and raising their daughter Katie. 
After their store closed, Virginia’s career through the years included economic development projects, marketing consulting, and insurance sales. Virginia was honored locally and nationally for her work in economic development in North Dakota.
Since 2001, Virginia was the executive director of the State Historical Society of North Dakota Foundation, leading efforts for the expansion of the Heritage Center which was completed in time for 125th anniversary of the statehood of North Dakota.
Virginia was a strong woman with a strong faith in God. She will be remembered for her creativity, entrepreneurial spirit, and acceptance of others. She was not afraid to forge a new path in any project she touched and had strong determination.  
Virginia leaves her daughter, Katherine Halloran Schafer (Damian); granddaughters, Hannah and Adah Schafer; adopted daughter, Marlo Hunte-Beaubrun (David); granddaughters, Asonah Hunte and Zion Beaubrun; brother Tom Nelsen (Marianne), Dent, Minn.; sister-in-law, Margaret Halloran Kelly, Bismarck. Virginia also leaves many cousins and friends who are family. 
She was preceded in death by her husband, John, her parents, brother-in-law Bernard Kelly, and sister-in-law Mary Halloran.
Virginia’s family circle extended to many people she chose to include. She was a mother figure to many. Special thanks to all her co-workers at the Heritage Center Foundation and Board, and friends and family who have been there for Virginia and family during the last weeks of her life.
Memorial gifts may be made to the State Historical Society of North Dakota Foundation or The Banquet Ministry at Trinity Lutheran Church.
 

 



Bismarck Funeral Home    |    3723 Lockport St    |    Bismarck, ND 58503-5537    |    (701) 223-4055

Site designed and maintained by KK BOLD Copyright 2013 Bismarck Funeral Home

Bismarck Funeral Home
3723 Lockport St
Bismarck, ND 58503-5537
(701) 223-4055


Site designed and maintained by KK BOLD Copyright 2013 Bismarck Funeral Home

Bismarck Funeral Home
3723 Lockport St  |  Bismarck, ND 58503-5537
(701) 223-4055


Site designed and maintained by KK BOLD Copyright 2013 Bismarck Funeral Home