James Orville Nelson

July 27,1944 - October 21,2019

Obituary for James Orville Nelson

James Orville Nelson (Jim, Jimmy), 75, of Seattle, WA, passed away on October 21, 2019.

James Nelson was born on July 27, 1944, in Portland, OR to Carl and Marguerite Nelson. To quote Jim (the name by which James went by during his life, it was, “Thursday at the end of July, it was hot and dusty in Portland, Oregon,” when he was born. The Nelson family welcomed Jim into the world at 12:07 PM and the world was forever changed. His family moved to Washington years later where Jim would go on to attend Concordia Lutheran Elementary, Beverly Park Elementary, and Puget Sound Junior High.

After graduating from Glacier High School in 1962, Jim joined the United States Marine Corps and served in Vietnam. He attended Highline Community College after his service.
Jim married Debbie with who he celebrated 49 years of marriage earlier this year. They had three children—Joe, Stephanie (Jeff) and Elizabeth (Justin) and two grandchildren--- Iris and Harvey.
Jim was bound by duty, honor, and service. He dedicated his life to his family and their activities. Through keeping the field ready for baseball, coaching, putting up the dunk tank for school carnivals, and popping popcorn for the school, Jim was a guy you could count on to show up and help. He was awarded the Acorn Award for his service to the school community. Jim loved baseball. His original favorite team was the Yankees. However, he quickly became a life-long Mariners fan upon their arrival in Seattle and awaited a World Series win like many of us. He shared season tickets with some of his friends and enjoyed taking his children to the games, patiently answering all their questions about the details of what was happening.

He loved fishing and camping with Ken, Joe, Jeff, and Mike. Jim and Debbie spent time traveling to other countries such as Mexico and Canada, as well as time traveling to local destinations such as Ocean Shores.

After being honorably discharged from the Marines in October 1966, Jim went to work for Pacific Fruit and Produce with the intent of only working for 6 months, with a plan to travel the United States afterward. When June of 1967 arrived, he loaded up his 1948 International panel truck with a cot, motorcycle, and other items he needed. The first stop he made was to Don Adasen Ford in Ronan, Montana where Don (cousin to Carl Nelson ) inspected Jim’s truck and pronounced it fit for the trip. He stayed in Montana for a while before leaving for Wisconsin and Michigan to visit with some friends from his time in the Marines. He went to the Montreal Expo and then took the southern route home, arriving back in Seattle in September 1967.

Jim briefly worked at Boeing, assembling parts for the Boeing 727 aircraft. Work slowed down at Boeing in 1968 and he moved back to working at Pacific Fruit and Produce. In 1987 Pacific Fruit closed its doors and Jim went to work for Food Services of America in Kent. He was awarded Warehouseman of the Year for his hard work at FSA for one year. He enjoyed sharing his knowledge of all the back roads and alternative routes to drive around western Washington from his years of driving trucks.
Jim retired in 2005. He would jokingly say, “Raise your hand if you don’t have to go to work tomorrow.” He would laugh to himself since the rest of us had to go to work the next day. He took on the hobby of researching his family tree and worked to make connections with relatives through this work.

You can often find him landscaping and installing rockery in his yard. He also collected golf balls he found, which came from the slices and hooks of patrons of the nearby golf course. Jim loved his friends and family. There is nothing out there that he could not fix it seemed! He was a thinker, reader, always caring, always inquiring about others. Jim loved his family and cherished the friendships he maintained throughout his life. He enjoyed reading the newspaper and keeping his mind engaged with current events. Jim was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin, veteran, and friend; a man of many talents.

He is preceded in death by his parents Carl and Marguerite Nelson, sister Carolyn, and his brother-in-law Ken Schneider. A tough Norwegian until the end, he was one-of-a-kind that we all truly loved. This holiday season, in memory of Jim please donate a new toy to Toys for Tots.

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