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Shirley Ann Nelson (née Heitman), 84, of Riverside, passed away on October 27, 2020 surrounded by her loving family.

“Grandma Shirley” was genuine, tough, thoughtful, competitive, and loving — qualities she passed on to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She was an outstanding wife, mother and grandmother who developed unique and special relationships with all family members.

Her kindness is timeless and immeasurable, and you can feel it in the cookies and bread she bakes wonderfully, and when she calls to say “Hi!” And their presence and enthusiasm for every holiday, every life event and every special occasion.

A passionate dog lover and sports enthusiast, she never misses a Bears or Cubs game…or a chance to wow her Sox-loving offspring with her cheeky sense of humor.

Before Mrs. Nelson’s death, her parents Sophie (née Schabowski) and Steve Hetman had two young daughters and her beloved sister, Marilyn Nesper.

She is the doctor’s wife. William J. Nelson. Family and faith are the foundation of their 64-year marriage. Together they raised seven children with love and dedication: Ken (Karen), Bill, Tom (Annie), Jim (Marcy), Rick (Maggie), Lori (Armando), Saltier and Tee. Tom (Opheus).

Her amazing legacy also includes 19 grandchildren: Nicole (Jon) Utz, Jessica Saltiel, Cody (Yuliya), Justin (Casey), Julianne (Phil) Pedi, Jennifer Saltiel, David, Sarah, Jerett, Armando Saltiel, Jon, Candice, Kim (Alex) Furth, Paige, Marlea, Hannah, Joe, Eduardo and Sophia Lopez and seven great-grandchildren, Rylie, Jackson, Logan and Avery Utz, Gabriella and Julia Pedi, Noah Nelson and three others.

Shirley is survived by her brothers Steve and Bobbi (Marian) Hetman, sister Teresa (Bob) Terry and brother-in-law Danesper, and many of her cherished cousins, godchildren, nieces and nephew.

A private funeral will be held on Saturday, November 14 at 12:00 p.m. at the Church of Our Lady in Clarendon Hill, Illinois. Visits to the show are by invitation only. However, you are welcome to join via the public live link on

Shirley’s celebration will be held next spring.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Equestrian Connection, 600 N. Bradley Road, Lake Forest, 60045. Donations can also be made through the company website at Please mention that your donation is in honor of Shirley Ann Nelson.