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R.D. Nelson

Posted 10/13/15 (Tue)

R. D. Nelson “Doc”, D.V.M., 82, of Watford City, N.D., died unexpectedly, Monday, Oct. 5, 2015, at Sanford Medical Center in Bismarck, N.D.
Robert Dale Nelson, D.V.M., was born to Willie Nelson and Bertha Gates Nelson, on Jan. 5, 1933, at home in Lanesboro, Minn.  
He graduated from Lanesboro High School and refused a full ride football scholarship to St. Olaf so he could work his way through Veterinary School at the University of Minnesota.
During his final year of school, he completed an internship in western North Dakota where a beautiful young woman in a yellow dress caught his eye. He married Marlene Sanford in Watford City on June 23, 1957.  
After finishing college, they made their home in Hebron and Park River before returning to Watford City where he started the city’s first veterinary clinic.  Doc Nelson practiced in McKenzie County for 45 years, retiring at the age of 80. Even then, he enjoyed occasional trips to Grassy Butte to write health certificates and keeping tabs on the new clinic.
Doc Nelson loved his work and clients and was available all hours of the day. He quickly made western North Dakota his own and was active on many boards and committees, including the School Board, Good Shepherd Home Board, Watford City Lutheran Church Council, and Boy Scouts. Doc Nelson loved coffee and conversation and didn’t hesitate to share his opinion.  
Despite 80 hour work weeks, he was available at a moment’s notice to his family and friends, even if it meant making a 650-mile round trip to see a grandchild’s concert during calving season.  
Many who were close to him depended on his insights and strength. His children and grandchildren always knew that whatever the problem was Dad (Papa) would have the answer.
He made yearly trips back to his hometown of Lanesboro, Minn., and treasured his relationships with his many siblings and their families.
He is survived by his wife, Marlene; daughters, Geri (David) Beckman of Park River, Kris Pacheco of Watford City, and son, Tim (Lisa) Nelson of Alexander; grandchildren, Amanda (Brian) Presteng, Allison (James) Arcadi, Michael Pacheco, Gus, Joe, Laurel, and Grace Nelson; and great-grandchildren, Annika, Samuel and Norah Presteng and Dominic, Claire, and Simeon Arcadi; sisters, Ruth Ostrem, Lola Williamson, Mary Mindrum; sister-in-law, Janice Nelson, and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, James Nelson and David Nelson; and sisters, Jean Bremseth, Margaret Nelson, and Lois Muzik.
Friends called at the Fulkerson Stevenson Funeral Home in Watford City on Thursday from 1 p.m. until 7 p.m. and at the church on Friday one hour prior to services.
His funeral service was held at 11 a.m., on Friday, Oct. 9, 2015, at First Lutheran Church in Watford City.  Pastor Mark Honstein officiated and interment was in the Schafer Cemetery, Watford City.
Friends may sign the on-line register and give their condolences at www.fulkersons.com