William Charles Nelson

Posted: Friday, September 17, 2004

William Charles "Bill" Nelson, of Redmond, Wash., died on Sept. 14, 2004, after a fall at home. He was 83.

He was born Nov. 15, 1920, in Wenatchee, Wash., to Wilbur and Mary Nelson. Raised in Cashmere, he grew up in the family orchard business. A gifted athlete for the Cashmere Bulldogs, Bill received a football scholarship to the University of Washington. He played on the freshman and varsity teams, lettering three times. He was a devoted Husky supporter until his death, rarely missing a football game. After graduation, he received his MBA from the Harvard Business School.

While at Harvard, Bill played rugby. The 1943 team won the national rugby championship, and he was voted the most valuable player.

He served his country during World War II as an officer in the Army.

On December 4, 1945, Bill married Barbara Joyce Shackelford. They moved to Redmond, Wash., in 1957 and raised five children.

Bill spent his career in contractors insurance and bonding as CEO and president of Dawson & Company, Inc. He was an industry pioneer and received countless awards and accolades. His most prestigious award was the Associated General Contractors of Alaska Hard Hat Award, which he received in 1989.

After selling the company in the early 1980's, Bill turned his attention to his love of property development. This year, he received the Redmond Chamber of Commerce 2003 Redmond Business Excellence Continuing Achievement Award.

"Big Pa" will be remembered by his grandchildren for his positive outlook on life and unwavering devotion to his family.

He was a member of the Univ. of Wash. Tyee Club, SAE Fraternity, AGC, Seattle Tennis Club, Rainier Club, Washington Athletic Club, Overlake Golf & Country Club and the Redmond Chamber of Commerce.

Survivors include his wife, Barbara; sons, Buff Nelson (Lori) of Redmond, Brian Nelson (Leslie) of Wenatchee, Wash., and Michael Nelson of Woodinville, Wash.; daughters Janet McCann (John) of Santa Barbara, Calif. and Mary Morrow (Stuart) of Fort Worth, Texas. He is also survived by 10 grandchildren.

In celebration of his life, a gathering of family and friends will be held from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 19, at Overlake Country Club, 8000 NE 16th, Bellevue, Wash.

Arrangements are being handled by Greens Funeral Home in Redmond. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Children's Orthopedic Hospital C/O Children's Hospital Foundation, P.O. Box 50020, MS S200, Seattle, Wash. 98145; or UW Business School, C/O Mary Ann Estrellado, Stewardship Manager, Mackenzie Hall, Box 353200, Seattle, Wash. 98195-3200.

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