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Aycock Funeral Home

OBITUARY

Arthur J. Nelson

April 7, 1933October 11, 2020
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SEMPER FI ~ KOREAN WAR VETERAN

Arthur J. Nelson, age 87, passed away on October 11,2020. He was born and raised in Staten Island, New York and lived in Port St Lucie, Florida for 35 years. He is survived by his four children Noreen, Skip (Pattie), Edward (Tsuna), and Kristen; sister Dr. Marguerite Nelson (Brandon); five grandchildren Megan, Amy, Patrick (Hillary), Kellie and Desiree; five great-grandchildren Jadan, Riley, Lacey, Skylar, and Julia as well as several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife of 69 years Joann and his parents Arthur C. Nelson and Marguerite Nelson. Art was an active member of the Holy Family Catholic Church for over 30 years. Art and Joann spent their early years in PSL actively fund raising for the construction of the now beautiful Holy Family Church. He was a member and past Commandant of the Marine Corps League Jack Ivy Detachment No. 666. Art or Skip, as he was known to many, joined the detachment when there were only a handful of Marines on the detachment’s active roles. He helped build it into the robust organization it is today. Proud of his Korean War service, Corporal Nelson, USMC was an Aviation Electrician assigned to VMO-6, just above the 38th parallel in direct support of 1st MARDIV. He was an active member of the Korean War and Defense Veterans Treasure Coast Chapter 106, the American Legion Post # 0400 and a member of the VMO-6 Memorial Project, erected in 2012 at the Semper Fidelis Park, National Marine Corps Museum, Quantico Virginia. He was a member of both the 1st Marine Division and Third Marine Aircraft Wing Associations. Art was also a life-member and past trustee of the Port St Lucie Elks #2658, as well as a member of the Telephone Pioneers of America and the Knights of Columbus. His life of service was devoted to his wife and family, his church, his community, our country and his beloved Corps. His was a life well lived, and one worth emulating. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends and the myriad of others he touched along the way. His lifelong journey of love and service, which he shared with Joann for more than 70 years, will not soon be forgotten. Fair winds and following seas, shipmate. Semper Fidelis.

A mass of Christian burial will be held on Thursday, October 22nd at 10:30 a.m. in the Holy Family Catholic Church in Port St Lucie. Interment will follow at the South Florida National Cemetery in Lake Worth. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the “Semper Fi & America’s Fund” (For our Combat wounded, ill and injured (www.semperfifund.org), Holy Family Catholic Church, or the Fisher House Foundation.(fisherhouse.org)

  • FAMILY

  • He is survived by his four children Noreen, Skip (Pattie), Edward (Tsuna), and Kristen; sister Dr. Marguerite Nelson (Brandon); five grandchildren Megan, Amy, Patrick (Hillary), Kellie and Desiree; five great-grandchildren Jadan, Riley, Lacey, Skylar, and Julia as well as several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife of 69 years Joann and his parents Arthur C. Nelson and Marguerite Nelson

Learn more about the Nelson name

Services

  • Mass of Christian Burial

    Thursday, October 22, 2020

  • Committal Service

    Thursday, October 22, 2020

Memories

Arthur J. Nelson

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Dr. Margurite Hansen Nelson

October 22, 2020

What is a brother? Hallmark cards have their own version of the answer to that question, but if you don’t grow up with your brother all you may have in common is DNA. My brother was born when my parents were 19 and 21 before the country recovered from the Great Depression. Despite the national economy, his parents were young, romantically in love, and healthy as you can see in the photo below.

When I was born, my brother was in high school, but by the time I remember him, he was a father with a family and responsibilities of his own. After returning home from Korea, my brother needed a job to support his family and a house to shelter them. It’s safe to presume that the only thing we had in common at that time was our love for Joann.

At my birth, my parents, then in their thirties, had learned that life can be a struggle and my mother was ill without doctors being able to offer a diagnosis or remedy. My father had always seemed to be working more than one job even though the years after the war were more economically optimistic.

My mother and father both lost their fathers when they were eight years old, so you have to wonder what they knew about being a father. Perhaps they learned by practicing on my brother. To my mother, her son was her “golden boy” for as long as she lived. In contrast, my father knew nothing of life but hard work and that was his expectation for his son from childhood on.

In the early years of my brother’s marriage, he drove trucks for my father’s business as a second job. These stories were shared with me when my brother was driving north from Florida during the summer decades later. Having my father as his boss, sounded like the Arthur Nelson version of hell and, with apologies to Dante, there was nothing comedic about it.

Fortunately, that job was temporary and my brother’s actual career was spent working for AT&T for about thirty years. He probably started out as what would be called a lineman, an installer, an installer, and worked his way up to management. It is possible that both these jobs influenced his attitudes because of the neighborhoods in which he worked and how hard it was to make a living.

He did show a soft side though. By the time I was in high school and his fourth child had been born, his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. One evening on my way upstairs to my room, I passed through the hall and saw my brother sitting next to our mom on the side of her bed and he was crying so I flew up the stairs. My big strong brother wasn’t expected to shed tears.

On another summer trip north from Florida after he had had his first open-heart surgery, he had been rushed to the hospital while visiting his son, Ed. He was obviously worse after the surgery and he sat at my kitchen table sobbing. By that time, I was old enough to try to comfort him, but it was unsettling because even women seem to absorb the ridiculous notion in our society that men conceal their feelings.

Fortunately, the faulty first surgery was repaired by Dr. McBride at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville and those valves gave my brother twenty more years of life. He and Joann celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary the same year in which he survived two consecutive open-heart surgeries. He was not only alive, but he danced at the party that was like a wedding reception attended by friends from everywhere he had lived and worked.
Even though my brother played football in high school, he never encouraged his sons to engage in that sport as far as I know. However, he did insist that all the children participate in the swim team at Lake Wallkill and at their schools when available. He was also undeterred in ensuring that each of the four of them had the benefit of post-secondary education.

Swimming resulted in a scholarship, Korea led to a Major in the Marine Corps, and two master’s degrees were earned. However, the recipients of his encouragement would be the first to admit that their father was a parental interventionist. He viewed their success as his responsibility and worked for it, paid for it and did whatever else might be required so they would reach that goal.

My brother learned a critical lesson from our father. For our dad, leisure, recreation, travel, and entertainment were rare. Work was his life. My brother never allowed his life to be limited to hard work. He collected life-long friends, hosted parties, danced, attended Giants and West Point games, and traveled extensively after retirement. Attending the commemoration of the founding of the Marine Corps was also a favored event.

His service to his church wherever he lived, included the men’s club, fundraising, lectoring, cooking for pancake breakfasts and spaghetti suppers, and organizing dinner dances. The monument to all the branches of the military at his parish in Florida was initiated and guided to completion by him. The other organizations associated with the Marine Corps to which he belonged are cited in his obituary.

So what comes of a brother and sister being raised as two only children? Well, the most amusing is that besides a few unknown crushes on a couple of his friends, I learned to Lindy though I was in the wrong cohort for it. Later, it became obvious that nothing is more awkward than trying to Lindy with someone brought up doing the Jitter Bug.

At their golden anniversary party, I ended up dancing with the wife of one of those old crushes. The best result was that once I joined the faculty of the college full-time, I discovered that one of the few remaining Dominican sisters was born the same year as my brother. So at faculty dinner dances, she and I had a grand time doing the Lindy. He left me with a nun for a dance partner.

Every time she would see me, she would ask, “And how is Arthur?” who she had met during one of his summer sojourns. Now I can tell her that he beat her to the place that she probably plans on going.

So if you think you hear some swing music that’s Joann and Skip together again dancing the Lindy. Their version did not include the swiveling of hips or bouncing, but just the smooth, fluid separating, joining, switching hands that comes from seventy plus years of being partners.

When my brother telephoned me, he used to call out, “Charlie” into the answering machine although I never knew why. Saved on my machine now is a sequence that goes from a robust, “Hellooow, Charlie” to a barely audible “Charlie” with intermittent gasps for breaths. They will never be erased.

Here’s to you, big brother with love,

Over and out.

“Charlie”


Grace Johnson

October 18, 2020

I am at a loss for words. Skip and Jo were such an important part of my life and history, from Staten Island to Lake Wallkill to Florida. I will try to remember them Together dancing the night away. They will be missed by the many whose lives they impacted.

Kenneth Gistedt

October 18, 2020

Mr Nelson, "Big Skip", was a towering man, but was the kindest and most helpful person you could ever meet. Remember many Friday evenings at the lake sitting on their back patio and Mr. Nelson, just getting to the lake after working all week, helping me fill out the meet sheet for the Saturday morning swim meet. He was always so proud of our swim team. Also know what it is like to ask for permission to marry his daughter. Talk about shaking in your shoes. He was a great family man and always so proud of his children. Never saw two happier people than Mr. and Mrs. Nelson. He is going to be missed, but he is back with the love of his life walking hand in hand. Sending love and prayers for Noreen, Skip, Edward and Kristen.

Michael Finley

October 16, 2020

Uncle Skip was a personal hero of mine. He and my Dad, Edward J Finley, along with all the Nelsons and Finleys knew the meaning of work, hard work and very hard work. We also had fun and a great family life.

Aunt JoAnn, my wonderful Aunt, Uncle Skip, Mom and Dad - Bud and Joan Finley - what a great generation! What a wonderful family to grow up with... what wonderful cousins... Noreen, Skip, Edward, Kristen, Michael, Bobby and Laura.

Uncle Skip, Corporal Nelson, USMC - Semper Fi - from your nephew, with my great respect Rear Admiral Mike Finley, USN

Ken Mascara

October 16, 2020

A true American Hero

The Mascara Family is praying for the Nelson family during this difficult time.

God bless you and be with all of you.

With Deepest Sympathies,

Brother Knight Ken Mascara

ELlen Burns

October 15, 2020

I will never forget, memories are permanent. God Bless you All. From SI to LWK to Florida. My parents and the Nelson’s forever joined. Prayers and hugs for Skip, Noreen, Ed and Kristin 🙏💕🙏

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