Our Team

committed to serving you

Our friendly and professional staff is dedicated to serving families across Northern Michigan.

Patricia Nelson and H. Charles Nelson


Patricia (Wattson) Nelson, is the baby of nine, who’s family home was on Main Street, Gaylord.  A graduate of Mercy College in nursing, she married Chuck in 1960 and moved back to Gaylord in 1965 with two daughters, to open the Nelson Funeral Home, Inc. Pat & Chuck raised their five children in Gaylord and have owned and operated the funeral home for 56 years.  In the community, Mrs. Nelson has been a pillar, always volunteering in numerous organizations; OHM Hospital board, St. Mary Cathedral & School, American Cancer Society & Salvation Army and beyond.  Patricia has assisted Chuck and our entire team at the funeral home for over 50 years and to this day, she feels it is her honor to help the families of Otsego County.


Chuck Nelson established the Nelson Funeral Home in 1965. Chuck and his wife Patricia, native of Gaylord, MI,  have five children; Carol, Susan, David, Kelly and Elizabeth. Chuck was a graduate of Worsham College of Mortuary Science.  He passed on April 8, 2020 and is buried at St. Mary Cemetery, Gaylord, Michigan.

Hanna Patrick

Hanna Patrick

Manager & Licensed Funeral DirectoR

Hanna was born in Petoskey, Michigan. She was raised from birth in Gaylord and resides here today.  She attended Gaylord High School and is a graduate of Wayne State University.  Hanna completed her Resident Trainee Program with the Nelson Funeral Home and is now a Licensed Funeral Director and Manager with our firm.  We are very proud of her accomplishments and are thrilled to have this dynamic young professional on our team sharing her compassion and kindness with the families in our amazing community.

Shannon Snyder

Business manager & funeral service specialist

Born in Gaylord, MI, the youngest child of Carol Nelson Snyder’s four children, Shannon joins the Nelson Funeral Home team as the third generation of the Nelson family to join the family business.  Shannon brings numerous years of experience in accounting and finance from a Northern Michigan resort and we are thrilled to have her on our team.  Shannon is honored to continue her mother’s tradition of caring for the families of Gaylord. She and her son, Dillon, live in Gaylord and love skiing, boating, and golfing.

Debra “Deb” Wojtkowiak

Funeral ServICe Specialist

Born in Gaylord, MI, she is a 1977 graduate of St. Mary High School. She attended North Central Michigan College in Petoskey and is a Member of St. Mary Cathedral parish. Deb began working for the Nelson Funeral Home & Cremation Service in 1979 and is a valuable support staff employee at our firm.

Don Gapinski

Don Gapinski

removal team specalist & support staff

Born and raised in Gaylord, Michigan, a 1965 graduate from St. Mary High School and an active member of St. Mary Cathedral Parish.  Don spent 30 years as fleet supervisor at Purchase Sales at Dean Foods in Gaylord, and 15 years as Store Manager at Valley Truck Parts in Gaylord, and retired from Valley Truck Parts in 2012. Don and his wife, Mary, reside in Gaylord where they raised their two children.  Don has proudly been a part of the team at NFH since 2012.

Derek Hagland

Derek Hagland

removal team speciaLIst & Support Staff

A Pastor, father of five, follower of Christ and a valuable team player for the Nelson Funeral Home & Cremation Service staff. We are honored to have Derek on our team helping our families.

Trudy Koscielniak

Trudy Koscielniak

Visitation specialist

An employee of our firm for over 35 years, Trudy helps the families we serve during visitations. She is a staple in the Gaylord community, St. Mary Cathedral and an integral member of the Nelson Funeral Home & Cremation Service staff.

Elizabeth Nelson Tobias

marketing & Public relations

Born in Gaylord, MI and is the 5th child to Patricia & H. Charles Nelson, Elizabeth joined the team at Nelson Funeral Home & Cremation Service in May 2009 upon her sister Carol’s illness. Focusing on marketing, public relations, community outreach and human resources for the funeral home; she enjoys working with our amazing staff. Married to Philip Tobias of Gaylord, MI, Elizabeth has two children and lives in both Dillon, CO. Elizabeth travels to Michigan often to help the family business with the guidance of her mother and brother. A graduate of Michigan State University, she is proud to be involved in the family business and thrilled to be a part of the fabulous community where she grew up.

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