Rev. Troy Rodney Nelson - Morris Nilsen Funeral Chapel

December 5, 1962 - January 21, 2023

Rev. Troy Rodney Nelson

Age 60, of Burnsville, MN, passed away on January 21, 2023. Troy is survived by his loving wife Monica; his children Linda Stack-Nelson (Jack Sartin) and Michael Stack-Nelson; step-children Jason Dorow and Matthew Dorow; father Rodney (Patricia) Nelson; uncle Harold (Marleen) Carlson; aunt Lenore (Sam) Grinolds; and many other loving family members and friends. He was preceded in death by his mother Carolyn Nelson and his uncle Mark Carlson.

Troy was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on December 5, 1962, and lived most of his childhood in Columbia Heights, MN. He attended Minnehaha Academy for junior high and high school, graduating in 1981. With his quick wit and boisterous laugh, he could be a larger than life presence at school and with friends, but even as a teenager knew how to simply sit quietly beside you on your worst day.

He attended St. Olaf College where he majored in English and Political Science and had a formative experience studying with other St. Olaf students in Jerusalem. Music was very important to Troy, and he was able to hone and use his beautiful singing voice in both Viking and Campus Choirs, before graduating in 1985.

In 1987 Troy moved to Tokyo, Japan, where he served as a short-term missionary with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) for two and a half years. While there, he taught intermediate and advanced conversational English as well as high school Sunday school, and helped lead English language Bible camps.

Troy then returned to Minnesota to attend Luther Seminary and graduated with a Master of Divinity degree in 1995. He interned at Jackson Lake Lutheran Church in Amboy, MN, and was then called to St. John Lutheran Church in Owatonna, where he served for five years as the associate pastor. In 2001 Troy began a three-year call in contextual learning to Luther Seminary where he served under the auspices of a Lilly Grant. He also served as a supply preacher in New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania while home schooling his children during their early years. He remembered fondly the time he spent being their teacher, especially “field trips” to historical sites along the east coast, and ANY time he could read to them.

Troy enjoyed 17+ years working at Whole Foods Market in various supervisory and managerial roles while he focused on family and the joys of raising his children. Married to Monica on August 15, 2019, they began building a wonderful life together. Blessed to have 3 ½ years, it was not nearly enough time for all they wanted to do and accomplish together.

In 2021 he felt called to begin the process of getting re-rostered in the ELCA. He was overjoyed to return to ministry and to be called to serve at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Le Center, MN, in the fall of 2022. In the short time of his ministry there, he came to love and be deeply loved by all. He approached each day with joy and rejoiced in his good fortune to have the opportunity to minister to and work with the faith-filled wonderful people at St. Paul.

Troy was the consummate people person. He had a kind word for virtually everyone he encountered and a deep faith and desire to serve the Lord. He was a skilled preacher and writer, a good shepherd and a humble servant. He lived his life grounded in Christ, endeavored each day to live his best life, and rejoiced in the promise of the resurrection.

His children were his pride and joy, and his face showed it whenever he talked about them. He loved them with all his heart and was a proud and loyal fan at school plays and hockey games. He also was the most kind, loving and supportive husband, a generous and thoughtful stepfather, and a faithful loving son and son-in-law. He died a happy man.

Troy rejoiced in ALL things hockey, the Minnesota Twins, and any University of Oklahoma team -“Boomer Sooner!” He and Monica enjoyed going for walks, playing pickle ball and racquetball, reading, movies, travel and spending as much time together and with family and friends as possible!

He will be deeply missed by his wife, children, family, and friends; and always remembered for the truly good man he was!

Memorials preferred to St. Paul Lutheran Church in Le Center, MN and/or House of Prayer Lutheran Church in Richfield, MN.


  1. Nicole + Bob and family says:

    Well done good and faithful servant. Prayers to all who loved and mourn Troy. He will be greatly missed

  2. Tammy Anderson says:

    Though life will never be the same, I pray time will gently heal each of you as love surrounds your hearts with tender memories.

  3. John Weisenburger says:

    I had just recently reconnected with Troy at the Southeastern Minnesota Synod theological conference. It had been 20 years since I saw him the last time. He and I had been at Luther seminary together and served in Owatonna together. We started a text study group that is still going today. When I saw him at the conference, I could not believe my eyes. I was overjoyed! We skipped out and talked for about three hours. We promised to reconnect and made plans to meet the week after he died. Troy actually died on my birthday. I was very sad to hear that news. His death has me more reflective about things than I have been in a long time. I was so happy to have reconnected with him. My sympathy and condolences to his wife and children, and all of his family. May God bless Troy.

  4. Samantha Smith says:

    Troy was the most wonderful person, more than I know how to express. I am so fortunate to have known and worked with him for 5+ years at Whole Foods Market; it was always so exciting when I would realize we’d be shift leading together! I will never forget his kindness and humor – nor how much he adored his family. My love to all of you.

  5. Suzanne Burman says:

    Our deepest condolences. Troy interned at Jackson Lake Lutheran when our boys were young. He made a significant impact on our faith journey and has a piece of our hearts. So sorry for your loss.
    John and Suzanne

  6. Mandi Jung says:

    I worked with Troy for several years at Whole Foods. He was like a father to all of us misfit youth who worked there. He loved and accepted all of us fully and unconditionally. He touched so many lives. He brought out the best in everyone he met. I will miss him so much.

  7. Richard C. Salge says:

    Troy & I had such a good visit on Sept. 20th at the Pastor’s Conference in Mankato. I had been his supervisor on his internship in Amboy & took part in his ordination. Even then he was a talented, kind, & dependable pastor, who could work with all ages. Troy shared with me the wonderful gift that Monica was for him & proudly gave me updates on his children. We rejoiced in his call to serve at Le Center. I am deeply saddened by his untimely passing & pray for comfort for his wife & family. Troy was a servant of God who enriched the lives of all whom he touched. Richard & Mary

  8. Jay Grave says:

    My deepest condolences to Troy’s family and congregation. Troy was my friend and mentor while we both served at St. John Lutheran in Owatonna. He had a gift for preaching and a unique sense of humor. He was able to manage the role of friend and also mentor and nimbly move between the two. Troy and his family provided stability while I was exploring my first ‘real job’ and I will always be grateful for all he taught me. God bless his memory. Jay Grave

  9. Pam and Rodney schramm says:

    you are going to be missed deeply I enjoyed meeting you and haveing you here rest in peace Rodney and Pam Schramm

  10. Rachel Bauman says:

    I am so very sorry for your loss this world will never be the same without him. I worked with Troy for a little over 3 years at Whole Foods. I am so very grateful for that time I got to work with him. He was like a father to me and a lot of us. I will never forget the talks about old horror movies, tv shows and music. He helped me out when I needed it, and I am so very grateful for that. His family was his pride and joy, he would tell me about a bookstore in Minneapolis he would bring his daughter to when she was younger and about the music his son was into. He would always make me laugh especially as an ongoing joke he had with me which was he would see this vegan at the time eat meat again…well that happened lol. I am so grateful to have seen him around Thanksgiving in the store and surprised him with a hug and that I was now in the meat department. Thank you for everything and the time we got to spend with you. May you rest in peace. You are well missed and loved.

  11. Debbie Nuñez says:

    I had the pleasure of working with Troy at Whole Foods Market in Woodbury for just over 3 years. We immediately clicked due to our east coast backgrounds though we did have to agree to disagree on many occasions when it came to which was better, New York or New Jersey. When backed into a corner, I’d remind him that Captain America was from Brooklyn so that automatically meant that New York won. He’d sigh, look at me with one eyebrow raised and roll his eyes. It always made me giggle.

    I will miss his goofy sense of humor, his bad dad jokes and how he insisted on reciting the newest “Dr. Rick” Progressive Insurance commercials to me whenever we worked together. It wasn’t so much the content of the commercial that made me laugh but the fact that he cracked himself up every time he did it. It was pure joy and it made my heart happy. I hope he knew how much that small interaction brightened up even the longest of days.

    He will be deeply missed and it was an honor to have known him.

  12. Stephen Warner says:

    Troy started the men’s bible studies at St. John, wonderful time. Troy organized a trip to the Promise Keepers conference at former Metrodome, inviting the guys he had in a bible study at the church in Amboy. we took this conference in 3 times. So sorry to hear of his passing so young.

  13. Joshua Brist says:

    I spent years working with Troy at the Woodbury, Whole Foods. While we worked in different departments, I almost always took time to engage with him on breaks and passing each other in hallways. And that’s what I will remember about Troy. He was a people person who you could always count on to speak his mind. He was easy to talk to because small talk was never really small with Troy. He could naturally weave his life experience into a 5 minute conversation.

    Troy, thank you for the comradery we shared for many years. I’m so glad you were pursuing the ministry that you clearly felt hungry to return to. We will meet again, but until then, we feel the loss of not having you here with us in this life.

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