Cdr. USN (Ret.) Gerard L. 'Rod' Nelson Had careers in Navy, private sector, 'rascal, raconteur, family man' Nelson, Gerard (Rod) L., Commander U.S. Navy (Ret.), 96, successfully completed his last tour of duty on this planet and was called to his heavenly home in the early morning hours of July 6, 2021, where he now is reunited with the love of his life and wife of 46 years, Anna May Berry Nelson. Also joining in the celestial reunion party are his parents, Louis Paul Nelson and Flora Giorgio Nelson and his sister, Mae Jocelyn Nelson Buckner. He is survived by his son L. Paul Nelson II (Lee), his daughters Leslie Ann Nelson Pereira (Charles), Kathryn Berry Nelson Sarver (Tim), and Laura Nelson Kallestad (Mike), and his grandchildren Jeb Sarver (Samantha), Amanda Sarver (Shawn), Benjamin Sarver (Libby), Zachary Pereira, Katie Pereira, Anna Kallestad, Joseph Kallestad, Katie Turlington, five great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. Rod was born in Staten Island, NY, on March 30, 1925, and at a young age moved with his family to Bath, Maine. He always considered the mid-coast Maine area to be his home. He attended Morse High School and Fryeburg Academy. He then graduated from Maine Maritime Academy in the wartime class of 1943-2. Too young to serve, his father had to grant permission for Rod to join the USCG-Merchant Marine as an engineer. During the war he served on four ships providing ammunition, food, and other essentials to U.S. troops and allied countries. He loved the work but he disliked "being on a ship that couldn't fire back at the enemy." In 1946, Rod accepted his commission to the U.S. Navy as an Ensign. Over the next 25 years he served on several ships including destroyers, amphibious assault ships, LSDs and guided missile cruisers. His land-based assignments included Auburn University, Ft. Ord, California, Yorktown Naval Weapons Station, Bahrain Island in the Persian Gulf, and the Pentagon. He also served as Port Services Officer for the Naval Station Norfolk, and his last tour was as the Executive Officer for the Naval Station Norfolk. He retired from the Navy in 1971. During his service, he was awarded many decorations, medals, badges, commendations, citations and campaign ribbons. Rod was also a Mason and a member of Solar Star Lodge #14 A.F. & A.M, Bath, Maine. Following his distinguished service in the Navy, Rod remained in Norfolk, Virginia, and was employed by QED Systems, Inc., as well as Old Dominion University where he was assistant director of ODU's physical plant. In 1996, Rod lost his beloved wife and favorite golf partner, Anna May, following a long battle with cancer. Together they raised four children, golfed, bowled, traveled, gardened, and loved each other, their home and their grandchildren. Rod proudly dedicated his life to the service of his country. To those who knew him well, he was a rascal and raconteur, a loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, uncle, jack-of-all-trades, a good neighbor, and a devoted friend. He will be interred in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors at a date to be announced. Our family is deeply grateful to Phil and Rachel, Mike and Beverly; "good neighbors" does not begin to describe all they did for him; to his caregivers, Yolanda, Anastassia, and Tatiana, who put their hearts into their care for him; and to all of his family and friends for enriching his life. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be directed to the "Cdr. G. L. & Anna Nelson Endowed Scholarship" at Maine Maritime Academy (www.mainemaritime.edu/giving
). Online condolences may be made to the family at www.altmeyerfh.com
. Altmeyer Funeral Home Southside Chapel 5033 Rouse Dr. Virginia Beach, VA 23462 (757) 422-4000
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Published by Staten Island Advance from Jul. 17 to Jul. 18, 2021.