Cover photo for Kathleen ("Kathy") Rae Nelson Gustin's Obituary
1941 Kathleen ("Kathy") Rae Nelson Gustin 2024

Kathleen ("Kathy") Rae Nelson Gustin

December 21, 1941 — May 25, 2024


"Who can turn the world on with her smile? Who can take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?"

Though these iconic lyrics were written as the theme song for the Mary Tyler Moore show, they very much could have been composed by anyone who knew our dear wife, mother, sister and friend, Kathy Rae.

Born December 21, 1941, to Donald and Doris Nelson in Britton, South Dakota, they moved to Ellendale, ND in 1942, where four siblings would be added to the Nelson family: Brad, Ken, Garry and Joani. Kathy was also the oldest of 42 Guhin first cousins, who'd frequently gather for adventures in their grandparents' Aberdeen home, which "held Christmas like a cup holds coffee," as her brother Brad Nelson poetically captured.

Kathy graduated from Ellendale High School in 1959 and attended Ellendale State Teacher's College. She saw a handsome fellow in a play, who asked her out to see the premier of the movie Ben Hur, and the rest is history. She married Darrel Gustin in February of 1962 and the two settled in Plentywood, Montana, where Darrel taught high school English. Bob, Deanne, and Richard were born in quick succession, and Kathy was a fulltime homemaker, but made time to go bowling (& Dad would put the kids to bed at 6:00), as well as bridge club, Village Hostesses and Altar Guild at St Joseph's Catholic Church. An avid reader, she'd often stay up to the wee hours of the morning to finish a book.

Darrel and Kathy began building apartment homes in Plentywood, enabling Darrel to leave education and follow their entrepreneurial dreams.

The family moved to Helena in 1978, as Darrel and Kathy's business ventures grew beyond eastern Montana. Kathy owned and managed Clown Town Toy Store in Helena for five years. She was a fulltime bookkeeper for the many Gustin business ventures in hotel and real estate.

She had a keen sense for business & would chase down the last penny in any ledger she balanced.

Darrel and Kathy enjoyed worldwide travels. They'd also make an annual summer trek by car from Albuquerque to North Dakota, Montana and Alberta to visit family and friends. They relocated to Albuquerque, NM in 1990, where they have lived to the present, except for several years living in Coronado, California.

Kathy is remembered for her kind, generous and gracious manner, and her infectious laugh. Discretion was like an art form for her, and she never wanted to impose on anyone. A quiet source of strength who shied away from drawing attention to herself, Kathy took joy in loving and being generous to others. She epitomized that showing gentleness takes nothing away from one's strength. During the last two and a half years, she relied on caregivers and they all delighted in her. She remained kind, polite and thoughtful to the end.

Kathy is survived by her husband of 62 years, Darrel, two children Bob (Laura) Gustin, Deanne (Tony) Vizurraga, three grandchildren, one sister & two brothers. She is preceded in death by her parents, Don & Doris Nelson, her brother, Brad, and son, Richard (2022).

A special thanks to Martha, Belinda, Sandy, Linda, Andrea, Charity, Indira and Sarah for the love and care they provided in the last stage of her life.

A Rosary will be recited at Risen Savior Catholic Church on Friday, June 28, 2024, at 9:30am with a Catholic Mass to follow. Kathy will be laid to rest at Santa Fe National Cemetery on July 1, 2024, at 10am.  

In lieu of flowers, the family requests a donation to Casa Angelica in Albuquerque, where Kathy volunteered: www.casaangelica.org

To send flowers to the family in memory of Kathleen ("Kathy") Rae Nelson Gustin, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Upcoming Services

Rosary

Friday, June 28, 2024

9:30 - 10:00 am (Mountain time)

Risen Savior Catholic Church (Wyoming Blvd, NE)

7701 Wyoming Boulevard Northeast, Albuquerque, NM 87109

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Mass

Friday, June 28, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Mountain time)

Risen Savior Catholic Church (Wyoming Blvd, NE)

7701 Wyoming Boulevard Northeast, Albuquerque, NM 87109

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Graveside Service

Monday, July 1, 2024

10:00 - 10:30 am (Mountain time)

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