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Terry Nelson


1944 - 2019 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Terry Nelson Obituary
Terry Lane Nelson

Sept 4, 1944 - Dec 29, 2018

Former teacher, coach, local business owner, and San Francisco resident dies at 74.

Terry Nelson, a passionate and fun-loving San Francisco family man, as ardent a democrat as he was a Forty Niner, Warriors and Giants fan, died Saturday December 29, 2018 at the age of 74 after a courageous 9- year battle with pulmonary fibrosis.

Born to Leo and Ellen Nelson in Waukegan, Illinois on September 4th, 1944, Terry was educated in local schools and graduated from Southern Illinois University with major in history and a double minor in world geography and education. The first of his family to graduate from college, he never took his education for granted, and in fact entered the teaching profession himself. He enjoyed his time with kids, both in the classroom and on the athletic fields, for over a decade, at which time he moved to Northern California where he met the woman who would become his wife of 31 years, Diana Doherty Lawson, and her wonderful son, Timothy.

In California, Terry ran a limousine business where every day brought interesting new people and beautiful places in The Bay Area, Wine Country and beyond. One of the best things to come from the business was the privilege of working with Eddie DeBartolo Jr. and his family for over eighteen years.

In retirement, Terry had the time to reflect on the life he'd lived. From small town Middle America to the tip of the San Francisco Peninsula, overlooking The Bay Bridge and The Giants Ballpark, Terry felt like one of the luckiest guys in the world. And for no greater reason than the love of his life, Diana. To Terry, Diana was the key to his happiness. During every travel adventure, every dinner on the town with their wonderful and eclectic cast of friends, every nail-biting Giants championship viewing party in their living room, every Christmas celebration or trips with the Doherty's and the Lawson's, Diana brought the fun and vigor that made Terry's life worth living, and worth celebrating. In Terry's own words, it was a life well lived, and well spent.

Terry is predeceased by his parents and his brother, Kent.

Terry is survived by wife, Diana Nelson, son, Timothy Lawson, daughter-in-law, Jennifer Lawson, grandchildren, Fiona and Theo Lawson, brother-in-law, Phil Doherty, sister-in-law, Kathy Doherty, and their five sons: Brian, Mark, Kevin, Casey, and Christopher, his nephew, Christian Nelson and many beloved friends from around the world.

During his final months, he was lovingly cared for by Hospice by the Bay, especially his nurse, Vonda Chong.

A celebration of Terry's life will be held for family and friends in February.
Terry would be honored by donations to the San Francisco/ Marin Food Bank and to No Kid Hungry.

Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Jan. 12 to Jan. 14, 2019
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