Richard A. "Dick" Nelson
1937 - 2021
Mount Vernon Memorial Park & Mortuary
8201 Greenback Ln
Fair Oaks, CA
Richard A. Nelson Retired San Quentin State Prison Associate, Warden Richard A. "Dick" Nelson, passed away January 26, 2021 in Sacramento, California from complications of pneumonia. He was surrounded by his devoted family and his beloved canine companion, Scooter. He was 83. Born in October 1937, Dick grew up in Foxhome, MN. He joined the Army and after his honorable discharge embarked on a career as a Corrections professional for nearly 40 years.But many in the profession will remember Dick as a hero for his actions on August 21, 1971. While home off work, Dick heard gun shots coming from the prison. He sprang into action and assisted in stopping a violent riot and coup attempt inside the institution's most dangerous cell block. His efforts that day saved lives and helped bring about major safety changes and procedures within the nation's and the state's Department of Corrections. Dick wrote a memoir about his experiences in Corrections, including a minute-by-minute passage about that fateful day in 1971. "Into Harm's Way" was published in October 2019. His first book, "Waiting For George: Letters From The Shipyard" about his father's letters home during World War II, was published in 2012. Dick Nelson was the founder and curator of The San Quentin Museum. Thus combining two of his passions, history and corrections.Dick received over 70 very prestigious commendations and accolades for his exemplary service and dedication to public safety, and often consulted with legislators and other officials in matters of officer safety, training, crisis intervention, and conflict resolution. He was awarded a Commendation from the California State Legislature Assembly in 1998. Dick was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 53 years, Shirley, who passed away in September 2014. He is survived by his sister, Mary Stackpool of Glenwood, MN; and his four children, Kim (Bob) Bunce of Olema, CA, Jill Nelson of Del Mar, CA, Debbie (Bill) Tachis of Rocklin, CA, and Jeff Nelson of Sacramento, CA. He is survived by eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. A memorial will be held at 10:00 a.m. on August 16, 2021 at Mt. Vernon Memorial Park in the Chapel of the Valley, 8201 Greenback Ln, Fair Oaks, CA 95628. Immediately following, a Celebration of Life will be held at 11:00 a.m. at the Folsom Community Center, 52 Natoma St., Folsom, CA 95630. In lieu of flowers, please donate on Dick's behalf to: Correctional Peace Officers Foundation, P.O. Box 348390, Sacramento, CA 95834,; or St. Jude Children's Research Hospital,; or Big House Museum, 705 East Natoma Street, Suite 2-141, Folsom, CA 95630.Please view the obituary link for more about Dick's life and career:
Published by Marin Independent Journal on Aug. 8, 2021.
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Memorial service
Mt. Vernon Memorial Park
8201 Greenback Ln, Fair Oaks, CA
Celebration of Life
Folsom Community Center
52 Natoma St., Folsom, CA
Funeral services provided by:
Mount Vernon Memorial Park & Mortuary
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