Nature 14

Thomas Potter Nelson

May 22, 1930 ~ September 1, 2021 (age 91)


Nelson, Thomas Potter

Born on May 22, 1930, in Minneapolis.  Passed away in his home in Wayzata surrounded by family on September 1, 2021.  Preceded in death by his parents Howard Keeler Nelson and Sara Potter, brother George M. Nelson and sister Kathryn Nelson Allen.  Survived by wife of 66 years Jane Bredberg Nelson, children Cliff Nelson (Tracy Weidman), Emily Decker(David) and Paul Nelson (Gretchen), along with nine grandchildren.

Tom retired in 1993 as Senior Vice President Financial Operations at General Mills after a 39-year career. He was one of the principal architects of the General Mills financial information system and the company’s financial management organization during the 1980’s.  He led the effort that designed the first computer-based Consumer Foods information system at General Mills and later broader corporate information systems.  Prior to his 14-year responsibility for overall corporate financial operations, he was controller, Grocery Product division, and later Vice President Controller, Consumer Foods Group.  In addition, participating with other senior management, he was involved in areas beyond his normal financial responsibilities including operating strategy, organization structure and planning, foreign expansion, personnel development and the General Mills art collection.  Tom served on the national industry committee that conceived the Uniform Product bar Code, now used throughout the world.  He was the 2nd president of the UPC Council which was responsible for implementation nationwide of the UPC scanner code in the U.S.

Tom was a past-president and life trustee of the University of Minnesota Arboretum Foundation, a trustee of the General Mills Charitable Foundation, a past moderator of Wayzata Community Church, and a board member and treasurer of the Minneapolis Guthrie Theater and the Minneapolis YMCA.  He was also involved with the Paintings department at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

Tom graduated from Southwest Public High School in Kansas City, MO in 1947, received a business degree from the University of Kansas in 1951 and completed the Harvard Advanced Management Program in 1972. 

Tom and Jane traveled extensively in retirement, continued their love for art and spending time with family and very active grandchildren.

A celebration of life will be held on Friday, September 10, 2021 at 3:00pm at Wayzata Community Church, 125 Wayzata Blvd, Wayzata, MN 55391. Reception to follow. Mask will be requested

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Thomas Potter Nelson, please visit our floral store.


Celebration of Life
September 10, 2021

3:00 PM
Wayzata Community Church (Wayzata)

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