Keaton's Mortuary
1022 E Street
San Rafael, CA
Frederick Hjort Nelsen Colonel, United States Air Force (Ret) Passed peacefully on July 23, 2012. He was born November 11, 1917 to Hothar and Thora Nelsen in Butte, Montana. Fred was the youngest of four children - Robert, Vera, and Zetta who proceeded him in death. Fred was married to Harriet A. Griffiths for 44 years before her death in 1990. He grew up in San Francisco and graduated from Commerce High School in 1935, where he was a member of DeMolay and drill teams. He is survived by his loving family: son Christopher Nelsen (Susan) of Neenah, WI; two grandchildren; Laura McDermott (Donald) of Madison, WI, and Erik Nelsen (Jennifer) of Frisco, TX. Fred will be missed by his great grandchildren Cameron and Amelia McDermott. Fred joined the Army Air Corps in 1942 serving with distinction. He was Intelligence Officer for the 355th Fighter Squadron, Air Liaison for the 4th Armored Division, Air Attaché to General George Patton's 3rd Army and Military Governor in southern Germany. His assignments included the D-Day landings, liberation of France, the Battle of the Bulge and the Nazi surrender in May 1945. His next major assignment was Director of Targets for the United Nations Command during the Korean War. Fred returned to the California Air National Guard where he remained until 1961. He then became Executive Officer for the 349th TCW, Executive Officer for the AFRES Command at the Pentagon (1968), ending his career as Executive Officer, Western Air Reserve Region in 1978. Fred enjoyed salt water fishing, making numerous trips to Mexico. He was especially fond of fishing with his son and grandson where there was frequent teasing as to who was the best fisherman. Fred was a frequent and experienced traveler. His journeys took him and Harriet to Europe, Africa, the Middle East, India and Asia until 1990. Fred also traveled far and wide with his long time companion Zina Russell and became a part of the Russell family. A funeral service with full military honors will be held at the Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno, CA on Monday, July 30th at 12:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made in his name to the Wounded Warrior Project. (
Published by San Francisco Chronicle from Jul. 26 to Jul. 28, 2012.
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6 Entries
Ray and I will hold you and your family in prayer as you work through the loss of your father and grandfather.
Ray & Sandy Oppenhuizen
August 9, 2012
My sympathies to you, Chris and Susan, and Erik and Laura and your families. I so enjoyed reading Fred's obituary- what a wonderful career and long life! The photos from his memorial were so moving. My prayers are for your healing, comfort and peace as you remember Fred. Lonnie joins me in extending our condolences and love.
Melinda and Lon Anderson
August 2, 2012
Beautiful and honorable obituary from a beautiful, loving family. Our prayers and condolences go out to Chris and Susan, their children and grandchildren. May God bless and keep them in His care.
Rich and Jan Paske
July 31, 2012
We are so grateful to have known such a true gentleman and loving family member. Fred was an amazing man and our hearts and prayers go out in honor of his life and memory.

-Kane and Ally
Kane Russell
July 30, 2012
What a full and meaningful life!
We were blessed to have shared in a part of it.
Our prayers for comfort and peace are with the Nelsen Family.
In sympathy,
Shelley and Lance Russell
July 29, 2012
My thoughts and prayers are with all the Nelsens and family at this difficult time. Fred certainly lived a very interesting and accomplished life. He leaves behind a lasting legacy.
David Packer
July 27, 2012
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