Reuben Alexander Nelson passed away on February 6, 2016 with family by his side, at the age of 102. He was born at home on June 19, 1913 in Outlook, Montana to John and Hazel Madill Nelson.
He was the eldest and also the last surviving of a hard-working, fun-loving family of six children: Wallace, twins: Nita Nestegard and Rita Crowe, Francis and Irving (Bud).
Reuben grew up on the family farm and attended school by horse and buggy. He graduated from Outlook High School, and attended University of Montana, Missoula, in Forestry. Later he attended Radio and Electronic schools in New York, California and Florida. In 1942 he joined the U.S.
Before and after his time in the military, Reuben had various jobs in the Flathead valley and also Cusick, Washington – forestry, the family lumber business and farm, camp cook, and driving horses over Going to the Sun Highway. Dad seemed to know how to do everything! In 1950 Reuben started working for Pacific Power and Light Co., (now Flathead Electric). He retired after 28 years as district meterman. It was a job he thoroughly enjoyed.
He met the “love of his life”, “Brown Eyes” Florence Edna Halverson (he was too shy to ask her name for a while), at a square dance. They married at the little white church in Somers, that still stands. They were married for 45 years until Florence’s death in 1997. Reuben was an amazing and dedicated caregiver to Florence when she suffered from Parkinson’s disease for several years.
Reuben was a member of Bethlehem Lutheran Church for over 60 years, a member of the Masonics, and Buffalo Hills Golf Club. He was a regular Red Cross blood donor for many years, well into his 90’s.
Reuben is survived by his two daughters, their husbands and three granddaughters: Ann Starcheski (Jim) and granddaughter Ashley of St. Albert, Alberta, Canada and granddaughter April of Arizona;
daughter Debbie Nelson Funk (Eric), and granddaughter Katrina, all of Whitefish. He is also survived by brother in law, Carlton Nestegard, sister in law Jessie Nelson, and numerous beloved nieces and nephews.
During his long retirement, Dad enjoyed golfing, x-c skiing, gardening and travels around the U.S. Daily walks around the neighborhood and a hearty breakfast probably helped him to achieve his 100 plus years. He was able to live in his own home until age 99, and then moved to Buffalo Hill Terrace where he reconnected with old friends, made new ones and was lovingly cared for.