Leo Cranford Nelson Sr.
1923 - 2021
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Leo Cranford Nelson, Sr.

Pensacola - Leo Cranford Nelson, Sr., 98, passed away April 25, 2021. Born February 11, 1923, he was the oldest of 14. Leo so loved his big family and the fact he was from Holley. His glass was always half-full and he never met a stranger. A hoot and a holler, Leo always had a twinkle in his eye and leaves us with memories that put a smile on your face. We were all blessed to have him for so long. To live in hearts we leave behind, is not to die.

He served in the Navy until Pearl Harbor and then in the Merchant Marines. After the war, he retired from Navy Public Works, Civil Service at NAS, Pensacola and was a member of St. Paul's Catholic Church.

Leo was a Hadji Shriner since 1968 and loved driving his Edsel in the Antique Car Unit. In 2019, he was celebrated as being the oldest living Shriner in NW Florida.

He is proceeded in death by his parents, Nels Gustaf & Alma Jordan Nelson, his loving wife of 68 years, Virginia, his sisters Trudell Cobb & Orie Marler, brothers Kenneth & Darrell Nelson, his son-in-law, Bruce Lietzke and grandson, Stephen Lietzke. He is survived by children: Diane Gould (Charlie), Soozi Pate (Jerry), Greg Nelson, Rosemarie Lietzke, Leo Nelson, Jr. (Melissa). Grands: Quint Higdon (Lindsey), Somer Nicole Higdon, Jenni Pate Buckley, Wesley Pate (Courtney), Jamie Pate (Leighton), Alan Nelson (Anna), Sarah Brewer (Troupe), Christine Ablondi (Aaron), Luke & Noah Nelson and 11 great-grands.

His grandsons will be the pallbearers.

As Leo would say, "Keep it down the middle!"

In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Alzheimer's Association (866)232-8484.

Visitation will be at St. Paul's Catholic Church on 10:00, Monday, May 3rd. Services to follow at 11:00 with a celebration of his life at the Pate home. Bayview Fisher-Pou Chapel, Scenic Highway, is entrusted with the arrangements. Condolences may be offered at www.bayviewfisher-pouchapel.com

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in the Pensacola News Journal from Apr. 27 to May 2, 2021.
10:00 - 11:00 AM
St. Paul's Catholic Church
11:00 AM
St. Paul's Catholic Church
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6 entries
May 3, 2021
Great friend to all he ever met! Always a joy to be around.
Jimmy Brittain
May 3, 2021
What an honor to have known Mr. Nelson. He always had that beautiful smile, which he passed on to his children, and a joke or story to share. Forever the flirt he just couldn’t pass a pretty girl without one of sayings and maybe a pat. He was always the handsome “Holley Heartbreaker” until he laid eyes on the stunning Virginia. Sixty eight years of marriage and five children, what a legacy! We will miss you until God calls us home❤
Linda K Parker
May 1, 2021
Leo was my friend and a great personality. He loved meeting people and he was a Noble in the Shriners. He believed in the purpose of Shriners which was to support our Hospitals for Children.
Leo’s spirit will live on.
Eddie Zarahn
April 28, 2021
Bill and I are so sorry for your loss, and we send our love and prayers to all your family. You are in our thoughts and prayers. With love, Bill and Tish Pennewill
Tish Pennewill
April 27, 2021
When I think of your Daddy, Leo, I see his giant smile and warm hugs, always so happy to see you. I know you will miss him very much in the coming days, weeks, months, and years. May you be comforted in the memory of his unfailing strength, optimism, and good heart. I love you, Soozi.
Mike and Terry Evans
April 27, 2021
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