Dr. Richard A. Nelson

September 13, 1942April 27, 2021

Dr. Richard A. Nelson, known endearingly to his grandchildren as Duck-Duck, was called home to be with his Heavenly Father, on April 27, 2021. Richard is preceded in heaven by his father, Alver Nelson, and mother, Ila Nelson. He is survived by his cherished wife of 53 years, Christine, his brother, George (Betty) Nelson, and sister, Mildred (Marvin) Bay, his children, Nathan (Cheryl) Nelson, Steven (Marilyn) Nelson, Robin Nelson (Randy) Sanders, and Amy Nelson (Kevin) Mayfield, along with 11 grandchildren, and one great-grandson.

A gathering for family and friends will be held from four until seven in the evening on Monday, May 3, 2021 at Woodlawn-Roesch-Patton Funeral Home.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, May 4, 2021 in Dignity Hall of Woodlawn-Roesch-Patton Funeral Home with a gathering one hour prior to the service. For those unable to attend the service will be streamed on Facebook @WoodlawnRoesch or by joining the Livestream link on our website. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Alive Hospice, 1718 Patterson St., Nashville, TN, 37203.

Richard was a life-long learner earning multiple degrees: B.A. Psychology from Chico State College, M.A. Vocational Education from Long Beach State College, and Doctor of Philosophy from Oxford Graduate School. His passion for writing resulted in a series of published books on Work, Family, Bible ministries, Leadership training, along with his poetry anthology, "Glimpses of Life in Pictures and Words". He was the founder of Morning Star Publishing Company, and Morning Star Construction through which he diligently built multiple homes, townhomes, and commercial buildings in the growing middle Tennessee landscape. Greater than any of these accomplishments was Richard’s absolute passion for the Lord and for people, inviting them in and sharing the love of Christ freely and generously. His willingness to walk in obedience has impacted thousands of lives across the world, from the US to China, Kenya, India, Laos and beyond. Richard did not see a person’s ethnicity, race, or religion, but looked past the body to an eternal soul. “Well done, good and faithful servant!”


  • Gathering of Family and Friends

    Monday, May 3, 2021

  • Celebration of Life Service

    Tuesday, May 4, 2021



Dr. Richard A. Nelson

have a memory or condolence to add?

Andrea Villanueva

May 3, 2021

I was introduced to Richard and Christine by a close friend about two decades ago when I discovered they were our neighbors. The first time I visited their home, a friend aptly commented that they had done with their home “what Cracker Barrel was trying to do.” From the moment I beheld what became (to me), Richard’s “lending library,” I inserted myself into their family as a fixture, I couldn’t help it. Richard taught me early on that “LOVE” was spelled, C A R E. This is exactly what they have done and still do for SO MANY others. (Everyone they care for feels they are the most Important, cherished people in their lives.) CARE is a defining crown that describes Richard and Christine’s poured out nature. Unbiased, unrelenting, genuine CARE for seemingly everyone and anyone.
Richard helped me understand that “Time” is our most valuable commodity and the one thing that we can never reverse or get back. Though he was the busiest person ever, full of important, time sensitive projects, critical deadlines to meet, multitudes of people to help and situations to mitigate, I would have never known. Because no matter why or when I called, he always gave me the sense that I was the most important thing he had going, the de facto, priority.
He was and IS the most brilliant person I’ve ever known in so many areas, I can’t begin to enumerate here. There could not exist a more diligent documentarian or a more earnest, tenacious, unrelenting workmen both in business and friendship. He embodied Col. 4:5-6, “…Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” With the keenest perception, unfailing empathy, such acute sensitivity to the Lord’s anointing Spirit, he always knew what to say, how to respond, especially in times of great turmoil and need. I literally owe Richard and Christine my life (many times over) and yet I know, I am just one among countless others who feel the same. Thank God for Eternity!

Thomas Schwartz

May 2, 2021

The news of Richard’s death saddened me greatly. I met Richard and Christine on a trip to Turkey in May 2014. They quickly became the informal “parents” of our small group, leading us through our touring, meeting with officials, and having dinner with Turkish families. Richard and Christine embodied to me the Christian faith, two people of great generosity, extraordinary kindness, exceptional tolerance, and unselfish love. They were a remarkable couple, and my heart breaks for Christine at the loss of her husband of more than 50 years, But I have absolute confidence that the Lord greeted Richard with those words from Matthew’s gospel, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

Michael Gale

May 1, 2021

Me and my twin brother, Marty, grew up a block away from the Nelson home in Eaton, Colorado. Our dad died when we were just a few months old so mom needed someone to help raise us 'out of control' kids. This was the early sixties. She picked Richard, the only guy who was willing to help and able to control us. Richard taught us Bible and discipline. We were his first, of many, disciples.

Without Richard, we would have never made it. Today, many years later, we are both pastors of our own church. We are Bible teachers, worshipers and patriots.

A few years ago, Richard went to Israel with our group of intercessors and dancers. We were very blessed to have him with us. He got to meet many of our Jewish friends in Jerusalem and the settlements.

When it is time to get rewards in the Kingdom, the Lord will have to bring in some dump trucks for Richard. So many rewards.

May his memory be a blessing. Amen.

Dereje Befekadu

May 1, 2021

Dr. Nelson was great brother and friend indeed.
I have lots of memories that I can never forget about. When I came to Nashville in 2005 he was one of those dear saints who accepted me helped me beyond measure. He was also the instrument God used for me to go to graduate school and finished. Above all his humble spirit, his practical love for all the humanity amazing me. He was truly shown his love and faith practically. I miss him a lot but there is a great hope that we will meet again in our heavenly home.

Wayne Wallace

May 1, 2021

Richard was my brother and mentor. He challenged me to be more like Jesus both in word and deed. I remember the first time we broke bread together was a Sunday after church. He had invited our family to go out to lunch with him and Christine. This was probably the 3rd time he had invited us. We had said no the previous times because our funds were tight, this time we said yes grudgingly.
That encounter changed my life and helped to form a love for people. Little did my wife and I know that Richard wanted to bless our family by paying for our meal.
That lunch started a friendship that has lasted more than 20 years. You will be missed my friend, thank you for representing Jesus so well. Love you!