Another one of the “good guys” is gone. Art Nelson, 93, passed away in Billings, Montana on August 28, 2014.
Arthur Carl Nelson was born in Great Falls, July 21, 1921, to Carl and Emily Nelson. He grew up in the Boston Heights area of Great Falls with his younger brother George (“Porky”). There they enjoyed playing games such as run sheep run, poke George Washington, kick the can and marbles with the other neighborhood kids, listening to Jack Armstrong on the radio and attending the old Lowell, Roosevelt elementary schools and Central junior high before graduating from Great Falls High School in 1939. During summers of his school years Art worked on a neighbor’s produce fields and peddled the vegetables in nearby towns.
Art started working for the Anaconda Company after graduation and after the start of World War II, he enlisted in the U S Army. He served close to four years in the service, becoming a Sergeant with a mobile radar unit attached to the Marines. He served in the Pacific war theatre on Guadalcanal, Guam, Iwo Jima and Saipan. After the war he returned to Great Falls and his work at the Anaconda Company. Living nearby, Art often walked to the plant, crossing over the Black Eagle Dam. Art worked for the Anaconda Company (and later Arco) for more than 43 years, mostly in the Personnel / HR department as Employment Relations Manager at Great Falls and later in Denver as their Benefits & Pension Administrator.
Art met Ruth Wellens at an Eden dance and they dated some time before the war and corresponded throughout his time in the service. On June 15, 1946 they married at St. Ann’s Cathedral. This was the beginning of their love story and a life of devotion to one another, their family and friends. They built their own home in Great Falls on 6th Avenue North and raised four children there: Launie, Larry, Lou Ann and Jeanne.
They enjoyed going to dances throughout their active lives and the whole family enjoyed camping, family vacations, the Sun River tent camp, the many poker group outings and their Ranch Creek cabin outside of White Sulfur Springs. They enjoyed bus trips, cruises and other travels, either on their own or with family and friends.
Art was a loving husband, a great father, wonderful grandfather and his eyes would light up at the mention of his great granddaughter Kaitlyn. He was life member of the Elks, active in the Catholic Church (both in Great Falls & Denver), a Boy Scout leader, active in Junior Achievement program and Toastmasters.
Art is preceded in death by his wife Ruth, his parents, his brother George, daughter Lou Ann and great grandson Gavin Purcell. He is survived by daughter Launie (Bob) Jorgenson of Billings, son Larry (Barb) Nelson of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and Jeanne (Jim) Purcell of Cheyenne, Wyoming, and grandchildren Drew Nelson of Lincoln, Nebraska, Trisha Nelson of Rock Hill, South Carolina, Patrick (Kristy) and great-granddaughter Kaitlyn Purcell of Laramie, Wyoming, Justin (Mary) Purcell of Sacramento, California and Kyle Purcell of Cheyenne, Wyoming. In addition, Art is survived by numerous nephews, nieces and cousins.
The family is very grateful to the wonderful staff at the Sweetwater Retirement Community.