Walter O'Neil Nelson

July 3, 1931November 25, 2018

Walter O. (Walt) Nelson Sr. left us on Sunday, November 25th, 2018 to be with God, his mother, father, sisters and brothers who have all passed before him. He lived for 87 wonderful years.

He was 1 of 11 children in his family and he was the eldest son of Mrs. Minnie Nelson-Yarbrough and Mr. Louis Nelson Sr. Born in Powellton, West Virginia, he and his siblings grew up in North Belle Vernon, PA. Dad graduated High School in 1951 in North Belle Vernon, after which he joined the U.S. Air Force in June 1951 serving his country for 26 years of active duty. During his military career he traveled around the world serving in Korea, Vietnam, North Africa, Canada and numerous Air Force bases in the United States. He made friends wherever he was stationed and for many, many years kept in touch with many of them whether it was by phone or mail. He would spend most of his weekends calling family and friends, checking up on them. If not by phone he would send out hundreds of cards and letters over the course of the year. It was always very important to him to make sure he sent out stacks of birthday and Christmas cards every year, keeping a huge calendar pinned to the back of his bedroom door he kept a list of names to help him remember birthdays and anniversaries. Walt retired and moved to Spokane in 1977 where he began working at Kaiser Aluminum. He was proud and happy of the special friendships he developed with his coworkers and their spouses and to the day he passed, continued to cherish the time he had with them. He LOVED the Pittsburgh Steelers and passed the love for the Steelers down to his family that carryon that tradition, he also loved horses, rodeos, cowboy hats and BIG western belt buckles (the bigger the better) and although he hadn’t hunted after his first triple bypass, he still loved hunting. He also continued his love of traveling by car throughout the U.S. and Canada visiting family and friends. Walt leaves behind his youngest brother Lindsey (Pete) L. Yarbrough in Pennsylvania. Walt has 6 children, 7 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. Daughter Denise J. Branham and her husband Michael W. Branham in Texas; son Walter (Tim) O. Nelson Jr. and his wife Gina S. Nelson in Massachusetts; daughter Linda J. Nelson in Washington; daughter Mona L. Robinson and her husband Randall J. Robinson in Washington; son Paul J. Nelson in Vancouver B.C. Canada; son Philip M. Nelson and his wife Yanna J. Nelson in Washington; granddaughter Dedra M. Branham and her husband Daniel Fate Sr.; grandson Nikko R. Gibson; grandson Michael W. Branham Jr. and his husband Aaron McAllister; granddaughter Jessica L. Nelson; grandson Nathan A.M. Thomas; grandson Jourdan M. Nelson; granddaughter Olivia L. Nelson; great-grandson Cobi R. Gibson; great-grandson Daniel Fate Jr. and the many in-laws, cousins, nieces, nephews, and dear friends throughout the U.S. and Canada. Arrangements have been made for Dad's viewing and service. His viewing will be Thursday, 12/6/18 from 4:00pm to 8:00pm and his service will be Friday 12/7/18 at 10:00am. Viewing and services will be held at the Thornhill Valley Chapel, 1400 S. Pines Road, Spokane Valley, WA 99206-5432. (509)-924-2211.


  • Visitation Thursday, December 6, 2018
  • Funeral Service Friday, December 7, 2018
  • Inurnment Friday, December 14, 2018

Walter O'Neil Nelson

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Tina Penalver

December 7, 2018

Uncle Walter,
I wanted to thank you for always being there for my Mom, Annie. She camero America from England in 1957 with Bob and you always made her fill welcome! She told me that you took her to her first soda shop! Mommy left for Heaven a month before you, no doubt she’s taken you for a malt up there!
Love to you Mona and family!

Lisa Boyer

December 6, 2018

When I first met Walter, my Dad had already passed away. Walter and I connected quickly and it wasn't long before he offered to be my Stand By Dad. From that day on, any card or letter I received from him was signed lovingly as "SBD".

As we all know Walter got up every morning before the sun. He took it upon himself to keep in touch with me by calling me regularly on Sunday's at the crack of dawn. I would be fast asleep of course and wake up saying, "That Walter!" but then would break into a smile and pick up the phone. He always said he was sure to catch me then as it was usually pretty difficult reach me with my fast paced life. He just wanted to check in and make sure I was still alive and kicking. I will surely miss those calls.

On one particular visit he asked if I wanted to go to church on Easter with him. I agreed but was not ready for a 4 am wake up call. He neglected to tell me it was a "sunrise service"!

And one last memory...I was in Eastern Washington for a graduation at Washington State and told Walter my husband and I would like to come by for a visit. He INSISTED we stay with him for a couple of days. We did and it was so wonderful to see how he and the rest of the family accepted my husband as extended family. We had an awesome visit. During the stay, Walter pulled my husband aside and told him " You better take care of Lisa and if you hurt her in any way, you will have a big black man in a cowboy hat looking for you." We all thought about it seriously and then broke into laughter. I know he would do anything to protect those he loves. I was lucky to be one of those people.

Walter - you will be missed by so many. Rest in peace SBD.


Irene Girard

December 6, 2018

All our sincere sympathy to the Nelson family ... Walter was a very special man , uncle to my family , he would come visit us multi times in Kamloops British Columbia Canada for years. Walter request was for me to make his special strawberries trifle on each visits, Walt and Rob ( my son ) would accused one and other that one of them would get up during the night and ate some ... I wish that would still be going on . Walt and Gilles loved their ice cream also . Walter was there to help and support my little family when my wonderful husband Gilles was diagnosis with cancer and later passed .. Walter will always be Loved & Remembered for ever in our Hearts
RIP Walter .
Irene Dan and Rob. Girard

Jacquelyn Butler

December 6, 2018

Vaughn Hewitt giving a shout out. My sympathies. Love.

Jacquelyn Butler

December 5, 2018

The Butlers, long-time neighbors and friends of the Nelson/Yarbrough family of Belle Vernon send our sympathy and prayers. Lovingly submitted, Carla, Ben, Roz, Jackie and Mike.

Stan Finnegan

December 5, 2018

Walt and I became friends the very first time we met at Westover AFB, I was 19 yrs old. I'm sure the family has heard that story from time to time,that was 47 yrs ago! My wife Cindy and Walt became instant friends the first they met also and even today our children call him Uncle Walt. Our love for Walt only grew through out the years. He would always stop in at our home when he was near Pa.,our family even got to enjoy a Nelson family reunion outside Pittsburgh with Walt. Two weeks after I retired we made a trip to Spokane to visit, and what a great time we had! I thank God we got to spend that time with him! Walt and Mona made Cindy and I feel so at home. The only regret I have is we never got to go on that elk hunt him and I talked about for so many years and to many miles between us for to many years. My Best Friend, My Big Brother ,One of the best men I've ever known! We will miss you,but your be in our hearts forever! Until we meet again PAL!!!

Mona Nelson-Robinson

December 5, 2018

It brings joy to our hearts to hear the fond memories and to hear about the friendships our father had with so many people. We want to thank you for the friendships that our father had with each and everyone of you, as we feel he had a special friendship with each and every person that he came across. Thank you for your sincere , prayers and for sharing the cherished memories you have of our father Walt. God bless you.

Margaret Sherry

December 4, 2018

Walt was a customer of mine at the Veradale Post Office for many years. He was always cheerful and would brighten our day. He would share his love of horses with me. He always supported my daughter's fund raisers as she was growing up. He was a true friend to everyone he met. He wanted his friends and family to always know he was thinking of them. I will miss him. God speed, Walt.

Kevin Partridge

December 4, 2018

Dear Tim, my sincere condolences to you, Gina, and your family on the passing of your father. May the memories you shared over his long life bring you comfort. May he rest in Peace. God Bless him and you're entire family.
Chief Partridge

Zach Evans

December 3, 2018

Dear Walt’s family,
Walt was such a joy to be with for my grandparents, John and Jackie Storey (“Pepe and Meme”) while they were alive. He sometimes brought or picked them up from doctors appointments. My mother, Foxie Evans, and grandmother, Meme, loved to bake him carrot cake for his birthday. He helped my father change the motor of a car, and always greeted me with a great big smile and a firm handshake. His love, affection, and spirit will be missed. Rest In Peace, Walt...’til we meet again.