William E. Nelson July 16, 1926 - February 1, 2017 San Diego William E. Nelson died peacefully February 1, 2017 after a brief hospitalization. Born in Los Angeles he graduated from Venice High School and enlisted in the Navy during World War II. He served with distinction in the Pacific and was wounded during the battle of Iwo Jima. Following the War and as a result of the GI Bill he attended Pepperdine University and then Loyola University School of Law. Bill began his career at the law firm O'Melveny & Meyers and was recruited to join Union Bank where he acquired the interest and skills that would become the foundation of the twin streams of his long and distinguished business career banking and commercial property development. During this time he also earned a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Wisconsin.Beginning in 1963 Bill maintained an independent law practice as well as an active career in property development. Among the projects he developed are The American Cement Company building, the office building at 6404 Wilshire Blvd, and the eight level Hill/Olive parking garage which was one of the first center-core parking structures ever built. Bill was President of Valley Company, later Prospect Center Inc. after which he served on the Board of Directors.In addition to his business career, Bill served on the faculty of the USC Graduate School of Business where he is remembered as an inspiring and sometimes intimidating professor of Real Estate and Finance.In the early seventies Bill's business and community's interests began to focus on San Diego where he moved full-time in 1976. From downtown to La Jolla the skyline reflects his efforts. What was called the Union Bank building on 525 B Street, now the Procopio headquarters, was his first major development followed by the Prospect Center building in La Jolla. The Scripps medical buildings on Genesee join the list. He also led the development of Scripps Clinic and Research Immunological Lab and Scripps Clinic and Research Medical Office Building. He founded Scripps Bank in 1984 and was President and CEO Scripps Institute of Medicine and Science 1992-1 996. In 2001 he and a small group of investors founded Regents Bank which became part of the Grandpoint family of banks in 2012.His community engagement was as active as his business activity. He chaired the San Diego Opera, Greater Chamber of Commerce, San Diego Blood Bank and San Diegans Inc. (now the Downtown Partnership).Bill is survived by Lollie, his wife of sixty five years, their four children, Lindsey(Dimity) of Pasadena, Neil of Seattle, Mark(Tess) and Anne of San Diego, nine grandchildren and two great grandchildren. We will all miss him. He will be interred at a private service with military honors at Miramar National Memorial Cemetery on March 17th.
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Published by San Diego Union-Tribune on Mar. 5, 2017.