Bruce Alan Nelson (1957 - 2015)

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  • "I think of you both often. Bruce was such a good Grand..."
    - Felicity Self
  • "Jo... I am so sorry. He was and is an amazing man and..."
    - Mindy Lobaugh
  • "Hi hon, I need to feel near you so writing latest news. I..."
    - Jo Purcell
  • "May I add my condolences to Bruce's family and friends...."
    - Brenda
  • "I am very sorry for your loss. May the God of comfort be..."
    - BBC
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Bruce Alan Nelson, who just celebrated his 58th birthday on September 13, 2015, was not Alaskan by birth, but Alaskan by heart. He accepted a job with A&P as a Baker and arrived in Juneau, AK in October 1995 and remained here until his passing on September 29, 2015.

Born in Longview, WA in 1957, Bruce was the youngest of three siblings. He enjoyed family camping trips, fishing with his brother and letting his sister's horses run free so he could get pulled out of school to catch them! Those of you who knew this side of Bruce are laughing right now!

*Photo Information: Bruce with his boat that hauled in this 330 lb. halibut on 9/8/14*

At a young age Bruce started baking at local Fraser's Bakery. His extraordinary baking skills took him to many places, but none he loved more than Alaska. After spending a few years in Bethel, AK, he would travel back home to Longview where he was a survivor of the famous Mt. St. Helen's eruption on May 18, 1980. Nine years later his daughter, Marlaina, was born. Not many years passed before a baking opportunity moved Bruce and his family to Juneau, where they forever called home.

In 1996, Bruce met and married his best friend and love of his life, Josephine. They built a beautiful life together with many fishing adventures with a major highlight – he caught and landed a 330 lb. halibut with Josephine's help on September 8, 2014! (Note: Photo says 325 lbs., but changed after it was measured by a Fish technician at the dock.) They were able to capture the catch on film because they just knew there would be no way they could bring it into their 21 ft. Glasply, but they did! People may remember the article in the Juneau Empire paper entitled "Bruce, Josephine and the Sea", dated September 19, 2014.

Bruce's skills as an accomplished Baker was benefited by many places over the years; A&P, Safeway, Fred Meyers, Costco, Breeze In and most recently, Abby's Kitchen. He had the honor to bake cookies for the Governor's Open house and even had special order requests from Alaska First Lady Donna Walker for his Lemon White Chocolate Cheesecake to be served at her dinner engagements and for her holiday dessert! He shared his skills freely by teaching baking techniques to his many employees; wanting to give back what he was able to learn as a young man.

Bruce was not only a skilled baker but also an amazing carver. He carved a 6 foot totem pole in his kitchen as a gift for his parents. Along with carving faces in driftwood found along the beaches, Bruce expanded his skills to scroll sawing Seahawks, Cardinals and Steelers memorabilia, house address signs, various animal pictures, newborn baby cross and walking canes for his friends and family. Although, it was Josephine who benefited with the most Seahawks items, Marlaina with his largest number of driftwood carvings and granddaughter Sadie with his extensive knife collection.

When Bruce married Josephine, he became an instant "Grandpa" to her grandchildren. A role he took serious as evident by comments made by these grandchildren over the past 19 years. They loved their Grandpa who always was there for them, joking with them, having the girls come to work in the bakery with him, making delicious beef jerky, many fishing trips, buying them toys that only a grandpa would buy and just loving them like no other. He also became instant "Uncle Bruce" to his wife's nieces and nephews who all loved him dearly. He will surely be missed by all of them.

Bruce is survived by his daughter Marlaina (Derrick) Timmons, granddaughter Sadie Timmons and beloved dog Zoe. His wife Josephine, step sons Michael (Trina) and Joe (Jaime) Purcell; grandchildren Calan Putman, Canyon, Dakota, Madison, Michael Jr. and Damian Purcell. He is survived by his parents Marlin and Dorothy Nelson, brother Kurt (Margaret) Nelson and sister Rhonda (Steve) Grizzle, nieces Lydia Ashby and Malorie Nelson and their children, nephews Chuck (Tonya) and Tony (Jenny) Fowler, their children & grandchild and by numerous nieces and nephews on wife's side as well as numerous friends and his proudly adopted by Eagle Bear clan family, the Browns.

Bruce was a huge Jimmy Buffett fan so for his Celebration of Life service, we are requesting people to wear something Hawaiian. Please be prepared to share your stories and loving memories of this amazing man. Service will be held on Monday, October 19, 2015, at 1:00 pm at the Alaskan Memorial Park & Mortuary at 3839 Riverside Drive, Juneau. Abby's Kitchen will be catering snacks in honor of their highly skilled Baker and loved by all, Bruce Nelson. Condolences may be sent to daughter, Marlaina Nelson, 419 W 5th St, Emmett, ID 83617-3817 or to Josephine Purcell at 6011 Gull Way, Juneau, Alaska 99801.
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Alaskan Memorial Park and Mortuary
3839 Riverside Drive
Juneau, AK 99801
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Published in The Juneau Empire from Oct. 12 to Nov. 11, 2015
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