March 12, 1926 - January 22, 2021
With his family by his side, Ed Nelson peacefully passed away of natural causes on January 22, 2021, in Tucson, Arizona. He was 94 years old. He was born in Duncan, Oklahoma, to Cecil Foster Nelson and Frances Ellen (Maynord) Nelson.
He married Wilna Lee (Phipps) Nelson in 1946 in Frederick, Oklahoma. They were married for 67 years. Wilna passed away in 2014. He was a loving father to his two sons, Stephen Glen Nelson and Lee Foster Nelson.
Ed grew up in many areas of the country including southwest Oklahoma, California and Hawaii. In 1941 at the age of 15, he was living in Honolulu when Pearl Harbor was bombed. He said the Japanese planes were flying so low over their house that he was able to see the faces of the pilots. His family moved back to the mainland where he graduated from Glendale High School. After graduation, he joined the U.S. Navy and was assigned to the U.S.S. Wyandot. While the ship was delivering supplies to the troops during the invasion of Okinawa, his ship was hit by two Japanese torpedos, nearly sinking it.
After the war, he returned to Frederick, Oklahoma where he met and married Wilna Phipps. In 1947 he moved his family to Oklahoma City where he was employed at Tinker Air Base. In 1961 his family moved briefly to Altus, Oklahoma. In 1962 he moved his family to Ridgecrest, California working at China Lake Naval Ordnance Test Station. After 51 years in Ridgecrest, he and Wilna made their final move to Tucson, Arizona.
Both Ed and Wilna were active members of the United Methodist Church in Ridgecrest. He enjoyed playing couples bridge for many years with good friends from the church. He was a Little League coach (Go Tigers!) and loved working on his Triumph TR 3’s. Probably most of all, he enjoyed golf at the China Lake Golf Club. He will be remembered by many friends and loved ones.
Ed was predeceased by his parents, his brother Jack Nelson (all formerly of Ridgecrest) and his wife Wilna.
He is survived by his sons, Steve (and Kathy) of Tucson, Arizona, and Lee (and Rebecca) of Chico, California. He has five grandchildren Robert Nelson of Chicago, Illinois, Tyler Nelson of Chico, California, Collin and Connie Nelson of Tucson, Arizona and Laura Carda of Fort Pierre, South Dakota, and 9 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandson, and many nieces and nephews.
His ashes will be scattered in the desert in Tucson, Arizona. No services are planned at this time due to COVID 19. He was loved and will be missed.
Published on January 30, 2021