CASSVILLE - Kenneth Allen Nehls “Grub”, age 62, passed away on April 30, 2023 at his home from complications due to cancer. He lived graciously and courageously with it until the very end. He was born on May 3, 1960 to Neilan and Joyce Nehls at Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital and graduated from Oconomowoc High School. After encouragement from his teachers, he sought out employment on the Mississippi River, which landed him in Cassville, Wisconsin. Out of love for its people and opportunities, he remained there for the rest of his life. He worked at ARTCO in Cassville for over 43 years, starting out as a young deckhand and eventually working his way to tugboat pilot, where he proudly operated for many years. He navigated the waters of the Mighty River from end to end, thus instilling in him a passion that would forever become a part of his soul. The River was his life and ultimate happy place. It was where he spent most of his time: working, fishing, hunting and relaxing. He knew it like the back of his hand and mentored many people not only on the ways of river life, but also the ways of river fun. He especially enjoyed taking his family and friends out on his boats for adventures. It was on the River while sitting in duck blinds with his Dad that he learned many a crazy song and joke, which he later used to joyfully entertain family at parties. He was known for his large stature, but more so for his even bigger heart, which everyone agreed was made of gold. He would help anyone, whether asked or not and firmly believed in supporting both of his beloved communities with his talent, treasure, and time. Although he had no children of his own, he guided, loved and cherished opportunities to be with kids, especially those so blessed to call him Uncle Grubby. He truly adored all of his nieces and nephews. When not on the river he took pride in tending to his gardens, canning his produce and making delicious meals.
He is survived by the love of his life, Chris Russell; Mother, Joyce Nehls of Cassville, WI; siblings Vicki (King) Wilson of Hubert, NC; Sandy Stilp of Ashippun, WI; and Dawn (Bruce) Huber of Cincinnati, OH.
He is further survived by Chris’s family: Annie Russell, Sheila (Rod) Breuer of Cassville; Don (Kathy) Russell of Cassville; Theresa (Jerry) Reynolds of Cassville; Pat “Boney” (Karen) Russell of Potosi; Katie (Joe) Udelhofen of Potosi, Jeremy (Lynn) Yager; Ava Yager, and Hunter, Willie, and Brody Yager, as well as Ann Russell.
In addition, he will be missed my many nieces, nephews and dear friends.
He is preceded in death by his father, Neilan “Pat” Nehls; sister Sheri Nehls; and brother-in-law Ervin Stilp, as well as Chris’s family members: Charlie and Jaquelyn Russell, Charlie Russell, Bill Russell and Eric Yager.
A celebration of life will take place on Sunday, May 7th from 1 to 5 pm at J & J’s Sandbar, HWY 133, Cassville with a Time of Reflection at 2 pm. A luncheon will follow.
An additional celebration of life will be held in Oconomowoc in June.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to: The American Cancer Society, Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Cassville Fire and Rescue.
The family would like to extend a special thank you to all those who helped Ken during the last number of difficult years, whether it be medically, socially, spiritually, or physically. Your support has been truly appreciated.