Nelson Karl Hine, age 86 years young, was taken from us far too soon on March 9, 2023. He passed away peacefully at his beloved farm home surrounded by his loving family.
Nelson was born in Hastings, MI to Gerald and Margery (Norris) Hine on September 12, 1936. An only child, he grew up on the family farm, which taught him the value of working hard and became his life-long legacy. Between his chores, he still made time to have fun with his cousins and neighborhood friends. He was especially close to his cousin Charlie whom he thought of like a brother. He enjoyed times swimming, fishing, boating and water skiing on Long Lake, a place he held dear throughout his lifetime.
Nelson attended Schultz School and Hastings High School (Class of 1955) where he played cornet in the band, was a member of FFA and where he developed many lifelong friendships and an appreciation for learning. He went on to attend Ferris State College where he studied drafting, but he soon found that he preferred machining, which became his profession.
He enjoyed and excelled at machine repair and in 1974 he founded Hine Machine Repair Service that he and his wife Elaine owned and operated for the past 48 years. But was always a farmer at heart. He took great pride in living on the family homestead farm for the majority of his lifetime. He also owned many tractors, mostly John Deere, and he was especially fond of his 1952 John Deere crawler that was originally his fathers.
On October 27, 1972, he married Elaine (Gaudio/Foster) and they celebrated 50 years of marriage last October. He and Elaine were members of the Barry County Steam, Gas & Antique Machinery Association and the St. Joe Valley Old Engine Association. Together they enjoyed attending numerous tractor shows and the Barry County Fair for many years. He loved “hauling iron” (his tractors) to the shows and he often set up the tents and helped other club members. He especially enjoyed the tractor parades and having his children and grandchildren join in the fun. Nelson was proud to be inducted into the Michigan Antique Tractor Pullers Hall of Fame in 2019.
Never a man to be idle, he had many other interests. He truly loved working outdoors, whether he was in the farm fields, working in his shop, fixing anything and everything around the farm, operating the family cider mill in the fall or restoring one of his many tractors. He was also an avid snow skier, a sport he enjoyed for over 60 years and he continued to ski until just a few years ago. He was a member of the Battle Creek Ski Club and took many wonderful ski trips out west and to northern Michigan. He also introduced his children and grandchildren to the sport he loved and often took them skiing with him.
His other hobbies and joys included travelling with Elaine and his family, gardening, boating, deer hunting and taking pontoon rides around Long Lake. He also thoroughly enjoyed a good meal and was especially fond of Plainwell Ice Cream. The freezer was always stocked with several different half-gallon tubs.
He was a devoted husband, dad, grandpa and great-grandpa and he always looked forward to time spent with his family. He instilled in them a love of the farm and the simple things in life. He also loved telling entertaining stories, usually in great detail. Even in his last days, as he bravely faced his awful diagnosis, he continued to share stories of his life. And to the end, he rarely uttered a complaint.
Nelson leaves behind to cherish his memory, his loving wife Elaine, his three children from a previous marriage; Pat (Hine) Cox (Mike), Sherry (Hine) Woodstock (Andrew) and John Hine (Carrie); two stepsons, Ken Foster (Susan) and Steven Foster; 11 grandchildren; Michelle (Dean) Molnar, David Cox, Erin, Adam and Haley Summerfield, Kel and Kyle Hine, Valerie (Chris) Filiberto, Mary Elaine (Bobby) Roush, Allyson Foster and David (Jillian) Foster; and four great-grandchildren, Olive, Graham, Luca and Kingston. He also leaves several cousins and many dear friends and neighbors. He was preceded in death by his parents, Gerald and Margery Hine and stepson Allan Foster.
Nelson’s family will receive friends on Wednesday, March 15, 2023 from 4 to 7 P.M. at the Williams-Gores Funeral Home, Delton, and again on Thursday, March 16 from 10 to 11 A.M. where his Celebration of Life service will be conducted at 11 A.M. at the funeral home. Interment at Brush Ridge Cemetery will be held at a later date. Memorial contributions to the Barry County Gas and Steam Engine Club will be appreciated. Please visit www.williamsgoresfuneral.com to share a memory or leave a condolence message for Nelson’s family.
The impact Nelson made on those around him was truly limitless. He was a friend to everyone he met and was always ready and willing to help anyone, anytime, often without being asked. He will be dearly missed by so many whose lives he touched.