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Richard V. Nelson Sr., 100


Richard V. Nelson Sr. (Dick) passed away in Anchorage, Alaska two days after his 100th birthday.

He was born in Woodenville, Wash. on February 21, 1915 and made his first temporary trip to Alaska on a trolling boat when he was 12 years old. He moved to Sitka permanently in the late 1930s, and soon was skippering boats for the Sheldon Jackson boarding school. He married his wife, Erdine, in Sitka in 1940.

When WWII began, his boats were conscripted, so Dick enlisted in the Navy. He served by skippering patrol boats and tug boats in Southeast Alaska and Adak.

After WWII, Dick went back to running boats for missionary doctors and the Presbyterian Church until the early 1960s. Boats he operated were the Willis Shank, SJSII, Princeton Hall, and the Anna Jackman. Then he spent a few years towing logs with Sampson Tug & Barge, and finally ran boats for Alaska Lumber and Pulp Co. until his retirement.

Dick and Erdine were in the original group to start Alexander's Art Center in Sitka, but moved to Anchorage in the late 1970s. They spent eight years doing volunteer work with Youth With A Mission on Mercy Ships and with a Christian radio station in Hilo, Hawaii , but always kept Alaska as their permanent home.

Dick was preceded in death by his son, Richard Victor Nelson Jr. and by his wife, Erdine, who died shortly after their 70th wedding anniversary.

He is survived by his brother and his wife, Carl and Dianne Nelson, of Naalehu, Hawaii, daughter and her husband Jeanne and Jack Fiske of Anchorage and son and his wife, Stephen and Sidney Nelson of Pt. Agassiz, Alaska (Petersburg). He is also survived by 11 grandchildren, 22 great grandchildren, and 1 great-great-grandchild.

Donations in his memory can be made to Riverside Community Church to be sent to Mercy Ships for the renovation of a clinic in the memory of Dick and Erdine.


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