Robert Leroy Nelson, of Grand Forks, North Dakota, died Dec. 24, 2018, surrounded by family due to complications from pneumonia.
He was born June 6, 1933 in Sioux City, Iowa, to Miles and Helen (Robinson) Nelson. He grew up near Grand Rapids, Minnesota, and graduated from Grand Rapids High School in 1951. He married Suzanne (Larson) Nelson on Sept. 3, 1955.
He joined the United States Air Force in 1955. He rose to the rank of Lt. Colonel. He received many high awards as a pilot, such as the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Force Commendation Medal and many more. During active duty he flew the B-52, B-25, B-26, B-29, B-47, B-57 Canberra, Super Cub T-6 and others. His career saw him stationed across the globe, but he enjoyed Alaska the most. He was active in the VFW East Grand Forks throughout retirement. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, woodworking, painting and coin collecting.
He is survived by his wife Suzanne; brothers and sisters Bonnie (Bill) McClean of Buellton, California, Beverly Teppen of Las Vegas, Nevada, Ruby Braford of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota and Dick (Marilyn) Nelson of St. Francis, Minnesota; sons Brad Nelson of Juneau, Alaska and Tim (Melanie) Nelson of Harvey, North Dakota; grandsons Adam Nelson of Juneau, Jesse Nelson of Seattle, Washington, Tony (Jessica) Nelson of Cottage Grove, Minnesota and Jeremy Nelson of Harvey, North Dakota; seven great-grandchildren, and many cousins, nieces and nephews.
The funeral was Dec. 29, 2018, at Amundson Funeral Home in Grand Forks.