MAY 11, 1940 – JUNE 30, 2018
Robert E. “Bob/Bobby” Nelson. was born May 11, 1940, at Deaconess Hospital in south Minneapolis, MN. He began his childhood along with older brother Marvin in the Elliot Park Neighborhood upstairs above Grandma and Grumps Powell. Brother Donnie soon followed and Robert and his young brother roamed the ally of 10th Avenue in search of treasures. This completed the ‘pre’ WWII part of the Nelson Family.
When Bob’s father, Patrick Nelson, returned from WWII and began his career in law enforcement with the Minneapolis Police Department, Robert’s brothers Larry, Mike and Tom joined the family as the beginnings of the ‘post’ WWII family. The family moved to the Powder Horn Park Neighborhood on 12th Avenue where Robert attended Greeley Elementary and first sister, Kathy, was born.
Bob’s Dad then went to work as a Special Investigator for the BIA and moved the family to Wisconsen where they lived on the Menominee Reservation in Keshena, Shawano and finally the “farm” outside Gresham, WI where his sister Susie was born. Bob and brother Don attended the local one room country school house while living there.
In 1954, his Dad was transferred to the Navajo Nation in NE Arizona so the family relocated to Window Rock, AZ, where Bob graduated from St. Michaels High school in 1959. While Bob lived there, his final three siblings, Jeff, Johnny and Donna Jean were born. The family was now complete at eight brothers and three sisters.
After high school, Robert met and married his first wife, Kathy. Bob’s first daughter, Bonnie, was born in Gallup, NM, where he worked for Frontier Airlines as a one-man ticket agent, baggage handler, fire guard and an hourly weather sequence recorder for the Gallup airport.
After his marriage to Kathy ended, Bob transferred with Frontier to Albuquerque, NM, but soon afterwards joined the US Army in 1965. He received the “Outstanding” recruit award at Ft. Polk, LA, during Basic Training, and was given the opportunity to go on to Officer Candidate School at Ft. Benning, GA, receiving his commission in 1966. It was while at Ft. Benning he met his wife, Marcia. After serving a year as a TAC Officer in OCS, Robert was sent to Vietnam in 1967 where he served with the 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry, 25th Division in the Central Highlands until 1968. Robert was awarded a Purple Heart, Combat Infantry Badge, and a Bronze Star among other decorations. On his return from Vietnam in 1968, he married Marcia and together they completed his Army career at Ft. Carson, CO.
When he was Operations Manager for Frontier Airlines in Denver Airport, their daughter, Rebecca, was born. Soon Robert and Marcia moved to Minnesota where he worked for a while as a dump truck driver, garbage truck driver and other duties as assigned for the City of Minneapolis Public Works.
Before winter set in, Robert and Marcia moved to New Jersey where Robert began his career in pharmaceutical package engineering at Ciba-Geigy then Pitman-Moore where he won a prestigious national award for product packaging.
Bob retired from Johnson & Johnson Interventional Systems in 1997 when he and Marcia moved to Olathe, KS, where Marcia finished her career with Sprint. In 2002, they retired to Oak Harbor, WA, to be near Rebecca and their grandsons, Liam and Mika. While retired, Bob’s daughter, Bonnie, had his only granddaughter, Layla.
Robert’s interests were varied. He loved USA road trips and was an avid photographer. He was the family computer expert from DOS to Windows 10 and everything in-between. His music collection was vast and varied with CD’s and LP’s. Bob and Marcia shared their passion for gardening with Bob focusing on dahlias, potatoes, garlic and Walla Walla onions that were enjoyed by many friends and neighbors.
Married 50 years, Robert is survived by his wife, Marcia, daughters Bonnie and Rebecca, granddaughter Layla, grandsons Liam and Mika, brothers Marvin, Don, Larry, Mike, Tom, Jeff and John, sisters Kathy, Susan and Donna Jean and many nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by parents Patrick and Betty and, first wife, Kathy. He will be missed.
Robert was fierce in his convictions and opinions. He demanded and received respect. He had a big and generous heart that touched all his family. He was always there when help was needed.
He died at home surrounded by his family. His lifelong love and wife, Marcia, and his graceful daughter, Rebecca, held his hands until the end.
Funeral services will be held at a later date with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington DC.
The Nelson family suggests memorials in Robert’s name may be made to Disabled American Vets, www.dav.org.