Richard E. Nelson
Richard E. Nelson, Jr. died peacefully on September 28, 2016 at Houston Hospice, following a graceful, and courageous battle with Parkinson’s Disease.
He was born on August 24, 1930 in St. Louis, MO and was the first-born son of Richard and Mary Emily Nelson. His family soon included a sister, Sara, and brother, Tom; the three children lived in several small towns in Kansas before moving to Ft. Worth, TX where Dick graduated from Polytechnic High School in 1948. He next attended and graduated from Rice University in Houston with a degree in Business Management, then entered the Navy via an ROTC assignment. Dick served from 1952-55 as a Lieutenant aboard the USS Jeffers, part of the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean. While stationed in Charleston, Dick met a charming young secretary working in the city and on September 10, 1955 he and Patsy Ann Hughes were married in her hometown of Hartsville, SC. The new couple moved to Austin, TX where Dick received an M.B.A. from the University of Texas.
Following his graduation, Dick and Pat moved to Michigan where he began a productive working career at Ford Motor Company, U.S. Steel and General Motors, with homes in Plymouth, Rogers City and Grand Blanc, MI. The common thread in each community was the couple’s easy ability to make long-lasting friendships centered on children and activities like tennis, bicycling, cross-country skiing and bridge.
This pattern continued in retirement where Dick and Pat spend 18 very active and enjoyable years in Hilton Head, SC. Here, their home continued to be the focal point for many friendships and family gatherings. Dick was a valued volunteer for more than 15 years at the First Presbyterian Church and its day school where he was a “Rocking Chair Reader” and the school’s treasurer. He was also president of the Hilton Head Plantation Farmer’s Club and was the point person for numerous biking trips that he, Pat and their ever-expanding group of friends enjoyed.
In 2011, Dick and Pat returned to Texas where they lived at the Solana retirement complex in Katy. Following Pat’s death in 2012, Dick moved into the facility’s assisted living wing where his constant smile, sense of humor and uncomplaining nature made him a favorite of the caregivers.
Dick is survived by his children, Lisa Littlefield (Burt) and Steve Nelson (Mary Kay), both of Sugar Land, TX; grandchildren Ryan Littlefield, Andrew Littlefield, Haley Nelson, Samantha Nelson and Amelia Nelson; his brother Thomas Nelson (Carolyn) of Wimberly, TX and brother-in-law Harry Dean of Granbury, TX. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to Houston Hospice, 1905 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, TX 77030 (houstonhospice.org) or the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.