Missoula – In the early evening of June 14, 2013, Gail L. Nelson Sr. passed away at his home, surrounded by his family. He missed his 90th birthday by a mere three months. Gail was born to Charley and Catherine Nelson at Newman Grove, Nebraska on September 25, 1923. He was the youngest of seven children.
When he was a young child, his family moved from Nebraska to Eastern Montana. He lived in Montana for a few years, then moved to Washington. In his early youth, he had a great work ethic and was a jack of all trades, working a variety of jobs. At 18, he enlisted in the Navy, the day after Pearl Harbor, on December 8, 1941. He was a member of America’s Greatest Generation, a veteran of WWII. He was as proud of that as he was of his family.
Gail married the love of his life, Jeanne Fae Lunde in Woodland, Washington by his uncle’s bedside, on March 23, 1942. He and Jeanne moved from Three Mile, Montana to Woodland, Washington. He returned to Montana in 1956, settling in Missoula where he built the family home in which he lived until his passing, a total of 55 years.
After the war, Gail was a dairyman, a logger, a mechanic and in his later years a senior companion for Missoula Aging Services. He loved camping with Jeanne in his beloved Dodge, rock hounding, gardening, and discovering all the out of the way places in Montana. He was a loving husband, father, and grandfather who will be greatly missed by all.
He was preceded in death by his parents, and his six siblings, Myrtle, Lester, Leonard, Harvey, Ella Mae, and Alden; three grandchildren, one great granddaughter, daughter Arlene Urness and his great grandson Derek Nelson.
Gail is survived by Jeanne, his wife of 71 years, his son-in-law John Urness and grandsons Tom and Jim; his daughter Nancy (David) Engebretson and grandsons Steven and Brad and granddaughter Leslie; his son Gail (Barbara) Nelson Jr. and grandsons Rick and Randy and granddaughter Rebecca; his daughter Rose Ann (Tom) Yelton and grandsons Cliff and Paul. He is also survived by 22 great-grandchildren and seven great-great-grandchildren.
Services were held on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at Whitesitt Funeral Home, 314 Church Street in Stevensville. Interment with military honors followed the service at Sunnyside Cemetery. A potluck reception was held in Missoula at the American Legion Hall. Condolences and memories may be left for the family at www.whitesittfuneralhome.com.