Freeman "Butch" Nelson

March 25, 1939 - November 8, 2020
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Geib Funeral Home & Crematory
Annette Nelson Hensley
Jenny Hensley Clegg Light a candle


Freeman “Butch” Nelson, age 81, of New Philadelphia, died following a sudden illness, early Sunday, November 8, 2020, in Cleveland Clinic Hospital at Cleveland.

Born at Balkan, Kentucky on March 25, 1939, Butch was a son of the late Arnold and Hazel Wilder Nelson.

Following his graduation from high school, Bu…

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Freeman “Butch” Nelson, age 81, of New Philadelphia, died following a sudden illness, early Sunday, November 8, 2020, in Cleveland Clinic Hospital at Cleveland.

Born at Balkan, Kentucky on March 25, 1939, Butch was a son of the late Arnold and Hazel Wilder Nelson.

Following his graduation from high school, Butch entered into the United States Navy where he was stationed at Long Beach, California and assigned to the Naval Destroyer USS McGinty. Aboard ship, Butch served as a Radio Operator. Upon his honorable discharge, Butch furthered his education at Eastern Michigan University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in 1970. After he began his long career in the education field, Butch returned to school and obtained a Master of Arts Degree from Central Michigan University in 1973. For many years after, Butch taught high school English and History and served as a football coach not only in Michigan but in Clyde, Ohio and at the former Jewett-Scio Schools. He also served as a football coach at Heidelberg University at Tiffin, Ohio for a handful of years. In 2002, Butch retired from education and began working for his father-in-law’s company, Ben Cookson Construction, Inc.

His biggest passion in life was football and loved following all sports. He was a die-hard fan of the Detroit Tigers and faithfully followed the University of Kentucky football and basketball programs. He was an active member and Past Master of the Monticello Masonic Lodge #244 at Clyde, Ohio and a member of the New Philadelphia B.P.O.E. #510 Elks Lodge. He was also a member of the Tuscarawas County Gun Club and a Volunteer Usher for the PAC at Kent State Tuscarawas.

He is survived by his wife, the former Marsha Cookson whom he married in 1975; his daughters, Lisa Jackson and Kristen (David) DeSantis; six grandchildren, A.J., Brendan, Jordan, Trey, Brady, and Isabella; his siblings, Annette, Bonita, Liz, Jimmy and Glenn; his mother-in-law, Eunice Cookson, and a sister-in-law, Gloria James as well as many nieces and nephews.

In addition to his parents, Butch was preceded in death by his siblings, Orv and Helen; his father-in-law, Benjamin Cookson, Jr. and his brother-in-law, Benjamin Cookson, III.

Private family services will be held in the Evergreen Burial Park at New Philadelphia. The Linn-Hert-Geib Funeral Home & Crematory at New Philadelphia is handling arrangements.


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Service Information

Service Information

Private family services will be held.

Cemetery Information

Evergreen Burial Park


1520 Delaware Drive SE, NEW PHILADELPHIA, OH, 44663

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Timeline for Freeman "Butch" Nelson

Born: March 25, 1939
Died: November 8, 2020

Condolences for Freeman “Butch” Nelson

Geib Funeral Home & Crematory

On behalf of the Geib Family and Staff, we offer our most sincere sympathy for your loss. We are honored to have been called upon to serve your family.


Deann Brooks Markle posted on 2/11/21

Dear Kristen, I just heard about your father passing away from Mr. Ottney. My sympathies to you and your family during this time of loss. Your dad sure did make teaching at Clyde High School a lot of fun. He had such a great heart and a beautiful smile. You had an absolutely gorgeous smile yourself; you must have got that from your dad. Cherish the memories of times you spent with your dad. They will last you a lifetime. With sympathy, Deann (AKA "Miss Brooks")


david miller posted on 11/13/20

Donna and I wish our condolences for Butch passing, we shocked and saddened to hear this, a great neighbor and friend enjoyed talking and discussing many things


John Scheer posted on 11/12/20

Our Deepest Sympathy from the Officers and Members of Monticello Lodge #244, Free and Accepted Masons in Clyde Ohio!!! John Scheer, Past Master


Bob Bishop posted on 11/12/20

Carol and I wish to offer our condolences for Butchs passing. He was a good friend and I enjoyed the time we coached together.


Jacquie Triplett posted on 11/12/20

I’m so saddened to hear this. We have been extremely blessed to have Butch as a neighbor the past 17 years. He was always walking over to talk and keeping an eye on the kids and their activities. Will miss seeing him walk by every morning and stopping to talk. What a great man. He will certainly be missed. Prayers and sympathy for Marsha and the family.


Diana Bilbrey posted on 11/11/20

So sorry to hear. Prayers to the family.


Donna Tudor posted on 11/11/20

Butch you will be missed and loved always


Cindy Williams posted on 11/11/20

So sorry to hear of your loss. Mr Nelson was my school teacher he was such a nice guy!! He will be missed! RIP Mr. Nelson


Penny Rash posted on 11/11/20

I remember what a special person he was when I knew him, so sorry for your loss. We are sending love and prayers for the whole family. Love and Prayers, Penny Rash and the Rash Family


Patty Keener Haynes posted on 11/11/20

Marsha and Family, so sorry to read of Butch’s passing. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers . Patty Keener Haynes


Annette Nelson Hensley posted on 11/11/20

There are too many wonderful memories of our oldest brother to even start to write about. We loved him and looked up to him so much. He will really be missed here on this earth by all of us, but the memories of him will always be in our hearts and he will always be with us in our thoughts. Sending love, hugs and prayers for you all. Love Annette and LB


Jim Starrs posted on 11/11/20

I’ve known Butch for over fifty years and is one of my best friends. I was present for his job interview at Linden High School in Michigan. We have taken many trips to Florida (spring baseball) and Lake St Helen in northern Michigan and all of them have great stories and memories. Our mutual love for college basketball kept us in touch for every season Butch, Kentucky and me MSU. Butch was always there if you needed a favor or a listening post. I already miss him dearly. I will never forget the good times together. God Speed.


Sandra Cookson posted on 11/11/20

Marsha, Lisa Buffy and family, It is with a heavy heart we say goodbye to a great husband,father,grandfather and friend. Hold onto all the memories. My deepest sympathy.


Cheryl J Skinner Tri-State Military Museum posted on 11/11/20

May the love of God surround you and your family during this difficult time, May you come to know that the love of God is with you always, May your memories of Freeman Nelson, give you peace, comfort and strength… Rest now in the arms of our Lord your mission on earth is complete. I thank you for your service to our Country and my Freedom. You will not be forgotten. My thoughts and prayers to the family of …. US Navy Veteran, Freeman Nelson, is “A True American Hero” God Bless† † Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13 †


Helen Wilson Schaar posted on 11/11/20

Marshall, John & I are so sorry to hear this. Our condolences to you & your family.


Jenny Hensley Clegg posted on 11/11/20

So sorry to hear about Uncle Freeman passing, he will be greatly missed! It was always good to see him at our family reunions or any other time we could get together. One of my favorite memories is from a long time ago when Uncle Freeman and my Dad (L.B) were playing monopoly at our house in MI and neither one of them wanted to give up so they could go to bed. I know y'all have a lot of special memories of your time together and I pray God will comfort y'all with those memories. Sending love, hugs and prayers from SC to all of you. Jenny, Tom and Family


Wilbur Wallace posted on 11/10/20

So very sorry for your loss. Bless the time you had together it is never easy when our time is up. Prayers ? Wilbur Wallace


Cathy King posted on 11/10/20

Marsha, So sorry to hear of your loss. Thinking of you and your family. Your cousin, Cathy


Steph Staggers posted on 11/10/20

Marsha, I’m so sorry to hear of Butch’s passing. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.


Pat Bible posted on 11/10/20

Marsha. We are so very sorry to see that Butch passed away. You and your family is in our prayers.


Thomas E Hogan #25 posted on 11/10/20

Butch your sincerity and dedication to your profession was second to none, any program you were involved in ran under the theme of fun and you made certain that all involved realized this first and foremost, I will never forget the courage you showed when you and your sidekick Smitty on our last day of football practice showed up in full gear to allow use to take a shot at you.