Louis Orvil Nelson

Posted: Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Haines resident Louis Orvil Nelson, 89, died in his home on July 4, 2003, after a yearlong battle with cancer.

Services are going to be held on Tuesday, July 8, in Haines.

He was a native of Waverly, Iowa, born to the late George W. Nelson and Anna Caroline Emma Muethel of Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Family members said music was his passion. He received a scholarship to attend the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., where he earned a bachelor of music degree in 1940. He was a public school music teacher in Rochester, Wolcott and Red Creek, N.Y., from 1940-1943. When he served in World War II, he played French horn in the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force Band in China and India. He received the American Theatre Ribbon, the APT Ribbon, the Victory Ribbon and the Good Conduct Medal.

From 1950-1994, he was president of the Nelson Tester Corporation and manufactured and sold automotive testing equipment. He continued to perform on the French horn, performing numerous times with the Southeast Alaska Symphony and directing various music organizations until the 1990s.

In 1966, the family moved from Rochester to Haines, where they homesteaded at 7 Mile Mud Bay Road. His later years were spent in organic gardening, local politics and volunteer music teaching at Haines High School.

He was a member of the American Legion and was a 32nd degree mason.

He was preceded in death by his parents; stepmother, Iva Nelson; sister, Amanda Ramsey; and six brothers, Herbert, George, Preston, Frank, Wesley and Milo Nelson.

He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Hazel Adele Benson Nelson of Haines; sister, Dorothy Asfahl of Independence, Iowa; children, Ardis Lorraine Nelson of Johnson City, Tenn., Carol Elaine Tuynman of Beaufort, S.C., Irene Nancy Nelson of Juneau and Paul Arcady Louis Nelson of Haines; five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

The family has requested that in lieu of flowers memorial contributions be made to Hospice of Haines, Box 1034, Haines, AK 99827.

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