Rose Nelson hops into 90th birthday in Easter Bunny costume

by 24britishtvMarch 31, 2024, 2 p.m. 24
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Throughout her life, Easter was a chance for her family to celebrate their religion, enjoy time together and wear a new, holiday outfit. It is a time to reflect on what one is grateful for, she said.

This year, Easter falls on Nelson’s 90th birthday and she, once again, is celebrating in a new outfit. Instead of a sparkly dress or pastel shirt, Nelson is celebrating today in an Easter Bunny costume, traveling to retirement homes around the valley to spread joy and gift Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

“I wanted to spend my birthday going to one of the nursing homes. If my energy holds out, I would love to put smiles on people’s faces,” Nelson said earlier this week.

Nelson was born in Eureka and has lived in Montana all of her life, spending time in Kalispell, Whitefish and other places across the valley.

Her caretaking career began at 13 years old, where she was a caregiver for a patient with Alzheimer's disease. From that point forward, Nelson has felt drawn to helping others, especially the elderly.

She didn’t go to high school, rather studying at a business college for three months at 16 years old. After that, she worked for a Presbyterian church in Kalispell doing communications and shorthand.

Her career also consisted of being a doctor’s assistant, a dental assistant and working at State Farm. But her favorite jobs, she said, have been spent with older folks, learning their rich histories.

“There is history there that you won’t find in history books,” Nelson said.

Nelson retired at 77 years old and has been traveling and spending time with family ever since. When her daughter, Morna, asked her how she wanted to spend her 90th birthday, which happened to fall on Easter, the answer was simple: buy a bunny costume and spend time making others smile.

“I can’t imagine a better way to encapsulate her 90 years than in a costume with doughnuts spreading joy,” her daughter, Morna, said.

So Easter Sunday is a birthday celebration, but one where Nelson acknowledges others. If she can instill happiness in people, especially on a holiday, it's all worth it — and sometimes doughnuts can help with that too, she said with a smile.

Reporter Kate Heston can be reached at [email protected] or 758-4459.

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