Kaelia Shae Nelson passed away Oct. 29, 2017, at the age of 21 in Peru.
Kaelia was born Sept. 17, 1996, in Alliance to Mark and Shardel Nelson. She attended
school in Alliance through the sixth grade. From seventh grade on, she attended Hemingford High School, from which she graduated in 2015. She was a member of the National Honor Society, a two-time state track qualifier, and a member of the relay team that still holds the Hemingford 4X800 school record set in 2015. She rode and raced motocross when she was in grade school, following in her brothers’ footsteps, and she was a runner up in her motocross class in 2008. In high school Kaelia was active in cheerleading, volleyball, track, and cross country. During the summer she enjoyed spending time at the lake camping and taking boat and jet ski rides.
Kaelia competed in scholarship pageants in the Miss America System. She held the titles of Miss Chadron Outstanding Teen 2011, Miss Alliance Outstanding Teen 2012, and was first runner-up in 2012 for Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen. In 2015, Kaelia was crowned Nebraska’s Homecoming Queen and represented her state in Memphis, Tennessee, competing for the title of America’s Homecoming Queen and finishing as second runner-up. She was Miss Alliance in 2017, competed this past June at Miss Nebraska, and was recognized as the largest fund raiser for Children’s Miracle Network at the Miss Nebraska pageant. In September of this year, she was crowned Miss Chadron, and would have competed again at Miss Nebraska in June 2018. Kaelia’s platform was mental illness. Kaelia had written and published a book relating to mental illness.
Kaelia was a beautiful young lady who always wanted to bring support and joy to others. Kaelia looked up to and had a great deal of respect for her two brothers. She often did things to show her respect and appreciation to them; military themed dance routines and cheer formations named “The Rig” after drilling equipment come to mind. Her dog Charlie was a comfort to her and would make the trips to see her at college.
Kaelia attended Nebraska Wesleyan University for a year and a half. She was a Gold Rush Dance Team member and was in the Delta Zeta Sorority. She transferred to Peru State College in January 2017. She was on the cheer squad and was one of their flyers for Peru State College. She was also involved in the Peru State Education Association (PSEA) and held the position of Secretary. Kaelia had a glow and energy that would light up the sideline or the stage. She loved working with children and had worked with programs that aided children in need. She was a junior at Peru State College with a major in education.
Kaelia was preceded in death by her grandfather, Glenn Nelson, grandmother, Betty Nelson, great-grandmother, Alice Worley, great-aunt, Shirley Stutzman, great-uncle, Cecil Stutzman, and longtime family friend and pageant seamstress, Myrna Loibl.
She is survived by her parents Mark and Shardel; brothers Zachary and Kelby and sister-in-law Ashley Nelson of Alliance; grandparents Rolland and Pat Skinner of Hay Springs; uncle Brett and aunt Tina Skinner of Hay Springs; aunt Keri and uncle Craig Wyatt of Chadron; uncle Kirk and aunt Deb Nelson of Columbus; and uncle Rick Nelson of Scottsbluff; cousins Tosha Skinner and fiancée Nick Toste, Ethan and Mia Skinner, Bryanna Scheuler, Jace, LaRee (Trent Colburn and children), Cole (Sammy), and Blaine Wyatt and fiancée Cait Wiseman, Derek Nelson, Devin Nelson along with his son Mason, fiancée Bailee, and their son Ryker, Bethany Nelson, and Paige Miller, as well as numerous other aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.
The service commemorating her life will be Saturday, Nov. 4, at 2 p.m. at St. John’s Lutheran Church at 2090 Emerson Avenue in Alliance. Pastor Tim Stadem will officiate. Burial will be in the Alliance Cemetery. Visitation will be Friday from 1-7 p.m. at the Bates-Gould Funeral Home.
Memorial donations may be given to the family to be divided between a mental illness organization, the Miss Nebraska Organization, and the Peru State College Cheer Team.
Bates-Gould Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.