Elaine Viola (Nelson) Know, age 87 of Black River Falls, WI passed away
on Wednesday, December 21 st , 2022 at Bethany St. Joseph’s Care
Center, LaCrosse, WI.
She was born October 26, 1935 to Paul T. and Hildur (Backlund) Nelson
in Eureka, CA. She was the second of five children.
On June 20, 1958 she married her husband Rev. James E. Know.
Elaine’s early life consisted of several moves as her father was a Pastor
for the Evangelical Covenant Church. The family spent some years in
Butte, Montana before moving to Bellingham, WA where Elaine
graduated from High School. While living in Bellingham, Elaine met her
husband Jim as he was a member of the church and youth group that
her father was serving.
Elaine had a happy childhood and would often talk about their family
adventures camping and hiking in the mountains.
After high school Elaine attended North Park College in Chicago and
then graduated from Washington State University in Bellingham with a
degree in teaching.
Elaine and Jim started their married life in Ironwood, MI. Jim as the
pastor of the Covenant Church and Elaine as a 5 th grade teacher. Elaine
taught until their daughter Karen was born in 1962. In 1964 they
moved to Chicago and soon after their son Christopher was born.
In 1966 Jim and Elaine moved to Lake Geneva where Jim served as
Director of Camping for the Covenant Church at Covenant Harbor Bible
Camp. Elaine helped Jim run the camp.
In the fall of 1970, the family moved to Grantsburg, WI where Jim
became Pastor of the United Methodist Church and Elaine started
teaching again. A few years later found the family moving to Reedsburg,
WI where Jim was Pastor of the United Methodist Church and Elaine
found a job teaching Title 1 Reading and Math in the school district.

Ten years later the family made their final move to Black River Falls, WI
in June of 1984. Jim was Pastor of the BRF United Methodist Church and
Trout Run UMC and Elaine begin teaching Title 1 Reading and Math for
the BRF School District. Elaine taught in the district from 1984 until she
retired in 1999. Shortly after moving to BRF, Elaine and Jim’s son,
Christopher, died unexpectedly at the age of 20. A few years later Jim’s
battle with cancer begin. Elaine was right there by his side the whole
time tenderly seeing him through his many surgeries and trying to
nurse him back to health. Her love and care kept him going for longer
than expected. Elaine was by Jim’s side when he lost his battle in May of
Elaine was a wonderful grandmother to her 3 grandchildren and played
an important part in their lives.
Elaine’s church and faith were very important to her. She was a
member of Black River Falls United Methodist Church. There she
belonged to the choir. She was also a member of United Methodist
Women, the Prayer Group and often helped in the nursery.
Survivors include her daughter Karen (Larry) Pennekamp;
grandchildren Leah (Patrick) Olson, Joel (Megan Crothers) Pennekamp,
and Jamie Pennekamp; great-grandchildren Mackenzie and Carson
Olson; siblings Eleanor Claus of Eagle River, AK, Pauline Pearson of
Tacoma, WA, James (Alice) Nelson of Spokane, WA, Carolyn (Skip)
Carlson of Mt. Lake Terrace, WA; as well as many nieces and nephews.
Elaine was preceded in death by her parents Paul and Hildur Nelson,
husband James Know, son Christopher Know, a nephew Kyle Nelson and
brother-in-laws John Claus and Herb Pearson.
Funeral services will be held on Thursday, January 5, 2023 at 11:30 A.M.
at the United Methodist Church in Black River Falls, WI. Visitation will
take place an hour and a half before the service at 10:00 A.M.
Burial will be at the Riverside Cemetery, Black River Falls, WI.
Memorials may be made to the BRF United Methodist Church or Jackson
County Humane Society.

The Buswell Funeral Home of Black River Falls is assisting the family,

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