Brigadier General Oral Dean Nelson

Brigadier General Oral Dean Nelson entered into the presence of His Lord Sunday, September 16, 2012 after a long battle with Parkinson's Disease. Dean was born May 18, 1928 in Creston, Iowa where he grew up on the family farm north of town. After graduating from high school with honors he attended the University of Arizona earning a B.A. degree in Classics. In June 1953, he married his high school sweetheart, Violette Fulton. They lived in Chicago and Park Ridge, Il where their son, Jeffrey Dean and daughter, Jocelyn Patrice were born. He earned doctorates including a Th.D. and Ph.D. from Northwestern University while serving 12 years as a parish minister, building a thriving church from a handful of people who started the church in a school. During this time Dean joined the U.S. Army reserves at the urging of a close friend, also a minister, who said it would be a healthy diversion. Was it ever! Dean immersed himself in the military educational process which allowed him to advance from 1st Lt. to Brigadier General. Dean's varied career contributed greatly to society and earned him the love and respect of many people in all walks of life across our nation. Dean and Violette retired to Tucson, AZ in 1994 where they joined St. Philip's in the Hills Episcopal Church. The next 17 years Dean invested his energies, heart and soul, into the development of one of the finest theological church libraries in the country. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Violette; son, Jeffrey Dean (Muriel); daughter, Jocelyn Patrice (Hubert) Yousif; granddaughters, Natasha and Nadya Yousif; brothers, Dale (Ingrid), Charles (Helga) and Everett (Barbara); sister, Phyllis (Kirpal) Singh. A Memorial Service will be held at St. Philip's in the Hills Episcopal Church, at River and Campbell on Saturday, October 27, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. with a reception hosted by the Altar Guild following the service. All are invited. Memorial contributions may be made to Renouf/Nelson Library at St. Philip's, Parkinson's Foundation or to Casa de la Luz Hospice. For additional insight into the life of this remarkable man please visit

Published in the Arizona Daily Star on Oct. 21, 2012