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M. Nelson Loveland

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M. Nelson Loveland In Memoriam
M. Nelson Loveland, one of the founding members and former president of The King's Academy, a private Christian school in West Palm Beach, died Sunday at his Palm Beach Gardens home after battling an undisclosed illness for more than a year, the family said.

He was 88.

His high school sweetheart and wife of 66 years, Margaret Jane, and his daughter, were with Loveland when he died, said his son, Jeff Loveland.

A Navy veteran who served in World War II, the elder Loveland was known as a tough taskmaster in his earlier years at The King's Academy, which he helped start in 1970.

"I've heard stories that he was definitely hands on and that he made sure things were done the way he wanted them done," said Randy Martin, the school's chief financial officer since 2006. "But by the time I met him, he had probably mellowed at that point."

The younger Loveland said his father always demanded a certain level of respect from his children.

"We were expected to do what we were told," said Loveland, The King's Academy president. "My father was a strong disciplinarian and he needed to be. But he wasn't doing anything different from any other parent of his generation."

Loveland said the best advice his father ever gave him was this: "The only people who make mistakes are those who are doing something."

Loveland said his father, who was also the former owner and president of Gilmore Electric Co., decided to start a private Christian school after growing dissatisfied with the kind of education his children were receiving in public school.

Joining a group of like-minded men in 1969, including Kye Harris, a man who had started other Christian schools throughout the country, Loveland helped raise more than $35,000 for the new venture. After renovation was completed on Belvedere Baptist Church on Cherry Road in West Palm Beach, The King's Academy opened in mid-September 1970 with 245 students.

A year later, the school bought the 20-acre Roger Dean estate at the west end of Cherry Road for $472,000. In 2001, the Palm Beach County Airport Authority bought the Cherry Road campus for $14.5 million and the school began a move after buying 60 acres on the northeast corner of Belvedere Road and Sansbury's Way from the county for $2.7 million. The new campus opened in 2005.

Today more than 1,800 alumni have earned diplomas from the school.

Loveland served as The King's Academy president for 25 years.

"I relied on him heavily," Martin said. "I came from real estate and didn't have experience in the school business, but he taught me how to run a school efficiently and effectively. If you were doing anything to help The King's Academy, he was a friend of yours."

Loveland is survived by his wife, five sons, one daughter, 18 grandchildren and 26 great-grandchildren.

The funeral is scheduled to be held Friday at The King's Academy's Sports and Fine Arts Center at 1 p.m. Students will be dismissed at 11;45 a.m. on that day, the school said.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to The King's Academy for the M. Nelson and Jane Loveland Scholarship Endowment.
Published in The Palm Beach Post from Apr. 27, 2011 to Apr. 26, 2012
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