Howard Nelson – The Heart of Dressage in the Heartland

Monday, April 11, 2011

Howard Nelson 1949-2011
Howard Nelson 1949-2011

December 16, 1949 - April 08, 2011. One of America’s most beloved Dressage supporters, Howard Nelson (61) passed away after a long and valiant struggle with colon cancer. In spite of the years of pain and suffering Howard never lost his humor, love of his horses, friends, family, and the beautiful friendly facility Silverwood Farm, in Camp Lake, WI he owned and operated with partner Lisa Froelig. "I sang a tune for him in the hospital and he told me ‘don't quit my day job’ ". Lisa told DressageDaily describing his humor to the end. Howard was proud of the recognition Silverwood Farm received by the USDF winning the “Best Footing Award” multiple times, his race horses he bred and raised on the property, and his trucks, hunting trophies, and the artwork he enjoyed creating during the long Wisconsin winters.

Howard nelson with one of his yearlings
Howard nelson with one of his yearlings

For all who attended the well run Silverwood events Howard was a friendly face, often tooling around on his golf cart after watering and dragging the arenas to root on friends during their rides. For competitors, volunteers, judges, and staff of Silverwood Farm it is the end of an era. Because of Howard’s dedication and hard work Silverwood farm will continue to be a legacy to him.

But he did so much more, as he lived bravely with his illness, which took him by surprise, and eventually took his life. Debbie Garris, longtime friend, show secretary and frequent competitor at Silverwood left this note on his Memorial Page “Soon after Howard was diagnosed we were talking about colonoscopies. He made a strong point of telling me I should go get one because it had been over 10 years. So, I listened to him and was glad I did. I ended up with pre-cancer polyps which the doctor told me were in the last stage before cancer. Of course I told Howard. He took great pride in telling me that he saved my life. He probably did.”


Howard Nelson and his buddies!
Howard Nelson and his buddies!

Age 61 of Salem died April 8, 2011 at his home. He was born Dec. 16, 1949 in Adams County, WI to Wilbur and Lillian (nee Huber) Nelson. He spent his early life in Wisconsin Dells and graduated from Wisconsin Dells High School. Howard was a police officer for many years and served as the Police Chief in both the cities of Necedah and Lyndon Station. He was an owner and operator of Silverwood Farm boarding stable in Camp Lake for over 20 years. Howard loved working with horses, and cherished the friendships made with boarders and competitors at the farm. He was a thoroughbred racehorse breeder, a trophy hunter and a very avid Packer fan. He loved to dance and enjoyed drawing and oil painting.

Howard is survived by his 3 daughters Veronica Nelson, Annette (Steve) Fischer and Heather (Troy) Lenning and one son Chad Nelson. He is also survived by his 6 grandchildren: Nick, Elizabeth, Jeremy, Brittany, Caleb and Cassie and his girlfriend Nancy Swenson. Howard’s surviving siblings are Betty Wegert, Jerry Nelson, Liz Bauer, Stella Zaja and Kaye Chambers.

He is further survived by his partner of 20 years at Silverwood Farm, Lisa Froehlig, and his first wife and friend Sandy Harry and beloved pets Rosie and Parker.

The family would like to express a special thank you to Howard’s doctors, the staff at Wheaton Franciscan Hospice, and his close friends for their love and support of the family. It is truly appreciated.

Memorials given to his family will be used toward Howard’s favorite Charities.
Relatives and friends can visit with the family on Wed. April 13, 2011 from 4until 8PM and again on Thursday from 9AM until time of service.
Funeral Services will be held on Thursday April 14, 2011 at 10AM at Schuette-Daniels Funeral Home.
Burial will follow in Plainville Cemetery in Wisconsin Dells.

Visit DressageDaily's feature article written about Silverwood Farm in 2005
Silverwood Farm - Dressage in the Heartland