Philip Alfred Nelson passed away at home in Thousand Palms, Calif., on July 15, 2013, after a brief illness.
Philip was born Aug. 13, 1928, to Carrie and Peter Nelson on the family homestead in Fort Ransom, N.D. He was the fourth of five children, and grew up farming the family farm, and at one time, worked at his mom's restaurant. He enlisted in the Army
in 1947, and was granted an honorable discharge in 1948.
In September 1949, he married his sweetheart, Thelma Marie Slattum, also of Fort Ransom. They celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary in 2012. When asked once why their marriage had lasted so long, Phil replied, "We never thought it would end."
In 1950, Phil and Thelma loaded up their belongings and drove out to Seattle with friends. They lived and worked in the Seattle area for the next 20 years. Phil worked at Boeing and Holaday Parks, Inc. During this time, their three children, Michael, Catherine, and Diane, were born
In 1970, Phil fulfilled a lifelong dream when he moved his family to Fairbanks. He continued working for Holaday Parks, Inc., managing the Alaska operations. During this time, Phil was an active member of the College Rotary, and the local Sheet Metal apprentice program. Phil and Thelma were also yearly supporters of the Alaska Goldpanners. They could be seen often watching games from the third base bleachers. The family were also active members of Fairbanks Lutheran Church, where Phil and Thelma spent many hours volunteering.
In 1990, Phil and Thelma retired, and after three years of traveling in their motorhome, they settled in Thousand Palms, Calif. Phil is survived by his older brother, Emmit; his wife of 63 years, Thelma; children, Michael (Debra), Catherine, Diane Aslam (Zafar); grandsons, Brandon (Breann), Benjamin (Virginia), Tariq; and great-grandson, Oliver.
A celebration of life will be held at a later time.