Nelson (his full legal name), age 97, died in Phoenix on October 26, 2018 following a brief illness. He was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. During World War II, he earned a Presidential Unit Citation for action on Corregidor Island and was awarded 3 battle stars and an arrowhead for several D-Day landings in the South Pacific.
Following the War, Nelson received a degree in Architecture from Montana State University and completed an internship in Tucson before establishing the first architectural practice in Flagstaff in 1959. His practice, Nelson Architect AIA, consisted of primarily contemporary style public school and university buildings, commercial office buildings and notable residences in Northern and Central Arizona. He held professional registration with National Council of Architectural Registration Board in six states and was an emeritus member of the American Institute of Architects. Following his retirement in Flagstaff, he served as Corporate Architect for Saul Nuccitelli, Inc. in Springfield, Missouri for many years.
While in Flagstaff, Nelson became an active Freemason, serving as Master of Flagstaff Lodge No. 7 and later as Grand Master of Arizona Free and Accepted Masons in 1978. He received honors in the Royal Order of Scotland and was noted for his research, writing and education in the architectural and Masonic fields. The Flagstaff Lodge Library bears his name. He was active in Freemasonry for 57 years.
While living in Tucson and Flagstaff, Nelson was active in the Boy Scouts of America for 43 years, serving as Scoutmaster and Council Adviser. His Tucson Boy Scout Explorer Troop was well known for their search and rescue work in the Tucson desert and mountains, and their rescues were highlighted in a Life Magazine article. He was awarded the Silver Beaver for his service.
He was predeceased by his second wife Emmaline and first wife, Ruth. He is survived by daughters Jamie (Robert) King of Scottsdale and Sigrid (Robert) Calandra of Reston, Virginia and his son Stewart (Shirley) Nelson of Gooding, Idaho and 16 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Masonic memorial services will be held in Flagstaff at a later date, with burial in Desoto Cemetery in Desoto, Kansas.