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 55 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.

Tony Gray

Licensed Funeral Director

Born and raised in Oregon, Tony Gray has been a licensed funeral director for over 15 years in Oregon and now Michigan. He and his wife Katie (Anderson), a native of Wolverine, have relocated to Northern Michigan, both advancing their careers in Gaylord. Tony is passionate about funeral service and caring for the families of Otsego County and all of Northern, MI.  We are honored to have Tony and Katie in Gaylord, they have been an amazing addition to our funeral home and community.

Debra “Deb” Wojtkowiak

Support Staff

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.

Trudy Koscielniak

Support Staff

An employee of our firm for over 30 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.

Hanna Patrick

Support Staff

Born in Petoskey, Michigan, and raised in Gaylord, Michigan, Hanna is excited to be a part of our team. She has been a part of the community in many ways, from caring for our elderly community, to now assisting our families in their time of need. Hanna will soon start the Bachelors of Mortuary Science program with Wayne State University and is looking forward to being able to help serve our community better. She has volunteered with the local Children’s Bereavement Network and hopes to continue this tradition.  We are proud to have Hanna on our staff.

Sandie Drzewiecki

Bookkeeper & Support Staff

Born in Mt. Pleasant, MI,  raised in Farwell, MI (until 8th grade) and the Upper Pennisula, graduating High School  from Engadine Consolidated.   Sandie has a daughter, Taylor, and Grandson, Kazimir. She received an Associates Degree in Business and Marketing from Davenport University in 1998. She worked in a law firm for 18 years as a legal assistant and then as the office manager.  Sandie loves the outdoors, gardening, fishing, and hunting.

Don Gapinski

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

Support Staff

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

Elizabeth Nelson Tobias

Marketing & Human Resources

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.