A Sacred Moment


Russell Lloyd Nelson

September 12, 1934 - October 13, 2010

The Poetry Man

Russell Lloyd Nelson was born in Great Falls, Montana, on September 12th 1934 and died peacefully on Wednesday, October 13th 2010 at his home in Kenmore, Washington.

Russ was an outgoing, friendly man with an extraordinary and unquenchable zest for life – he spoke often of his love of ‘good people, good food, and good music’. He had a life-long passion for poetry, and often delighted his family and friends by reciting his favourite poems, of which he remembered dozens by heart. A few were poems that he himself wrote. Love songs were another abiding passion; he and his late wife Donna Beth enjoyed making compilation cassettes that included love songs and love poetry and giving these out to family and friends. Ever the romantic, Russ would often burst into song.

Loyal, intelligent, and funny, Russ was a dedicated family man, who often said the happiest day of his life was when his daughter, Cynthia, was born. In his day-to-day life he took pleasure in so many things: finding gorgeous silk ties in second-hand stores and giving them to his friends, eating smoked salmon out of the box, teaching his multiplication math trick, and recollecting his years in southern Italy with the Protino family and other great friends, to name just a few.

After graduating from high school in Seattle, he joined the US Air Force and worked outside London in the Intelligence division. He was thrilled by the opportunity to see Europe, and developed a love of beautiful old furniture and paintings. He then returned to the US and worked in telegraph communications for the railroad, which involved frequent travel between Washington, Idaho, Minnesota and Montana. He soon re-joined the US Air Force, and was stationed at Castle Air Force Base near Modesto, California – where he met and married Mary Estelle in 1957 and became a father to Cynthia Diane in 1959.

He and his young family moved to Alamogordo, New Mexico, where he worked at Holloman Air Force Base as a balloon launcher at the start of the space program. In the early 1960s he trained as a Morse Code Intercept Operator at Kessler Air Force base in Biloxi, Mississippi, and was then stationed in Edinburgh, Scotland – a city he adored. A stint followed in Darmstadt, Germany, where he worked as a Radio Intercept Operator, before being transferred to San Vito dei Normanni Air Station, in southern Italy. In 1970, after several years in his beloved Italy, he was transferred back to the United States, retiring from the Air Force in San Antonio and then relocating to Seattle. His first marriage ended in divorce, and he met and married Donna Beth in 1977. Russ worked for City Light and then for the Seattle Police until he retired. For several decades, he and his second wife attended Bethany Lutheran Church in Seattle, where he loved socialising, especially with his dear friends Rolfe and Marge Skrinde.

He is survived by his daughter, Cynthia Diane Nelson, of Sydney, Australia, and relatives and friends the world over, including Sannajane Royal and other nieces and nephews. Preceding him in death were his father, Theodore Sylvania Nelson, his mother, Emma Sophia Nelson, his uncle, John Walen, his older sisters, Harriett Mann, Elaine Howse, and Ruth Roach, and his beloved wife of thirty years, Donna Beth Nelson.

His daughter extends heartfelt thanks to those health care professionals whose generosity, humor and kindness enriched the last few years of her father’s life immeasurably, especially Shari Lake and her marvellous staff at the adult family home Shari’s Haven, for providing superb care and companionship; Beth Arrowsmith, Carmen Ficarra and the great team at Ohana for providing guardianship assistance with integrity; Becky Resnick, Susan Brey and others at Evergreen Hospice, for their spiritual warmth and wisdom; Dr Frank Mitchell for years of excellent care; and many, many others.


Looking into the portals of eternity

Looking into the portals of eternity teaches that the brotherhood of man is inspired by God's word; Then all prejudice of race vanishes away.

George Washington


Just as the Wave Cannot Exist

Just as the wave cannot exist for itself, but is ever a part of the heaving surface of the ocean, so must I never live my life for itself, but always in the experience which is going on around me. It is an uncomfortable doctrine which the true ethics whisper into my ear. You are happy, they say; therefore you are called upon to give much.

Albert Schweitzer

Char BarrettNComment