Frank Page Nelson
October 28, 1924 – October 14, 2020
Frank Page Nelson was born 28 October 1924, the second son of Dr. William Nelson and Rosa Lee Pelter Nelson, in Montgomery, WV. The family moved to Richwood, WV where his father worked as a medical doctor. “Page”, as he was known in his early years, attended public school there and in 1942 graduated from Richwood High School, at which he had met his future wife Mary Jo McClung of Carl, WV, also graduating that year. He entered Virginia Polytechnic Institute the same year, majoring in Wildlife Biology, and was a member of VPI’s Corps of Cadets. He interrupted his undergraduate education and enlisted in the US Army in 1944, serving in the European Theater, most notably during the “Battle of the Bulge”. During the bitter winter of 1944-1945 in Belgium, and as far as eastern Germany (and probably Czechoslovakia) at the termination of the war. The Army renamed him “Frank”.
Returning home, he married his high-school sweetheart while still enlisted, and ultimately returned to VPI, completing his Bachelor of Science degree, then beginning study for a Master of Science degree in Wildlife Biology, graduating in 1948. He took a position as Wildlife Biologist (and ultimately Chief of Game) with the SC Wildlife Department (now SC Department of Natural Resources) in Columbia until 1973 and served another five years at the SC Water Commission, also in Columbia. Afterward, he became the land manager of Venture Plantation in Lane SC, where he and Mary Jo enjoyed the farm life for 10 years.
He and Mary Jo were happily married for 64 years. He was predeceased by her, his parents, his two brothers, William Nelson Jr. and John D. Nelson, and his former son-in-law Barry T. Burnette. He is survived by four children: Ann Nelson Anrrich Blaney (Rick), John Nelson (Richard), Martha Nelson Burnette, and Scott Nelson (Lori); seven grandchildren: Mariel Anrrich Taylor (Mike), Sara Anrrich, Andrew Burnette, Page Burnette Okerlund (Chris), Joseph Nelson, Carrie Nelson Rice (Jon), and Tucker Nelson; three great-grandchildren: Austin Taylor, Henry Taylor, and Lucy Page Okerlund, as well as many nephews and nieces, and their children.
Frank was, as a young husband and father, deeply committed to his family. He and Mary Jo were among the founding members of St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church. He had a keen appreciation for the natural world, both professionally, and as an outdoorsman (being especially fond of fishing and duck-hunting). He was a talented woodworker and built many pieces of furniture, and he designed and implemented home renovations, and even built a wooden sailboat. In addition, he was a passionate artist, especially with watercolors. He was a member of Trenholm Artist Guild and the Trenholm Shepherd Center for many years. His happiest days were those with family, his many friends and colleagues, entertaining and eating barbeque (with his famous mustard sauce) and sipping his favorite bourbon. The family will always cherish fun times spent at the Lake Wateree house “Seldom Scene”.
His children would like to express their deep appreciation to The Palmettos of Parklane and to Caris Healthcare for the loving treatment he received. Dunbar Funeral Home, Devine Street Chapel, is assisting the family with arrangements. Interment will be at St. Martin’s Memorial Garden at a later date. Memorials may be made to St. Martin’s in-the-Fields Foundation, 5220 Clemson Avenue, Columbia SC 29206. Memories may be shared at www.dunbarfunerals.com.