Nina-Mae Rogers, 93, passed away Wednesday, March 6, 2019, at her home in Blooming Prairie. Nina-Mae was born August 10, 1925, in Austin, to Sanford and Edna (Lerum) Nelson. She graduated from Blooming Prairie High School in 1943 and began working at Hormel Foods, where she remained for 47 years. In 1954, Nina married Vilas Rogers. They had three children, Rebecca, William, and Shirley. In 1964, Nina and Vilas bought a home in Blooming Prairie, where Nina would reside for 55 years. When she retired from Hormel in 1990, she became a hostess at Perkins Restaurant in Owatonna, where she delighted in greeting customers for 20 years. Nina-Mae took great pride in being useful and was well-known for her tireless work ethic. The oldest of 6, she helped raise her siblings on the family farm. Nina was a star employee for more than 67 years and managed her home and affairs independently for 50 years until she was 89. Nina was the family matriarch. She made her home a haven where her children and grandchildren were always welcomed and nurtured and she could always be counted on for support. She brought the family together for holidays and summer vacations in her cabin. In her kitchen, her signature fried potatoes, peach pie, mashed potatoes and gravy, Christmas cookies, and unique salads were legendary. She loved the community and always looked for ways to do good. She was very active in the Order of the Eastern Star—where she was once Most Worthy Grand Matron—and helped spearhead the popular 4th of July pie and ice cream social fundraiser each year. Nina donated generously to charitable organizations. In her later years, Nina-Mae enjoyed watching over the town’s children from her porch as they walked to and from school, handing out homemade popcorn balls at Halloween, and lifting the spirits of passersby with candy and conversation. Nina-Mae adored her house and surrounded herself with beautiful things. She was a passionate collector of china, figurines, art, antiques, and decorations – all of which were lovingly placed throughout her home. She also collected jewelry, shoes, handbags, and fine clothing. Nina-Mae’s indomitable spirit was her trademark. She was relentlessly positive, always quick to make others laugh with her many jokes and funny stories, and told everyone how much she loved her life. She sought out inspiration in art and poetry and shared it with others. Nina was baptized, attended church, and valued her faith. She will be dearly missed.
Survivors include her children, William (Emily) Rogers, Shirley Rogers, Rebecca Rogers; four grandchildren, Thomas Rogers, Emily (David) Gay, Alex Hegg, Amanda (Seth) Snell; two great grandchildren; siblings, Marg Bush, Jimmie (Lucille) Nelson. She was preceded in death by her parents, Sanford and Edna Nelson; husband, Vilas Rogers; siblings, Ralph Nelson, Charles “Chuck” (Doris) Nelson, and Eric Nelson; and brother-in-law, John Bush.
Funeral services will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 4, 2019 at Worlein Funeral Home Chapel in Austin. Interment will be in Fairview Cemetery in Oakland.