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Donald Dennis Nelson
December 11, 1934 ~ February 25, 2023 (age 88) 88 Years Old
1 Tree, Flower, or Condolence has been shared with support of Donald's family - View on Tribute Wall
Donald (Don) Nelson was born in Rockford, Illinois to parents Einer, a Swedish immigrant, and Ferne Nelson on December 11, 1934. Donnie, as he was often called by his family, grew up in Rockford where he lived with his older brother Roger, and younger sister Janice and where several of his extended family still reside.
He joined the Air Force in 1954, spending almost 4 years in the service. He recalled fondly his travels across the world during that time. Throughout his life he enjoyed activities such as backpacking and camping. He and his wife, Mary Carolin occasionally traveled within California, often exploring the central coast and state and national parks featuring the sequoias and redwoods. A weeklong backpacking trip to the Sierra Nevada mountains that Don and Andrea took together is an experience that both treasured. More recently, Don joined on a trip to Williams, AZ with his grandchildren to take the Polar Express train, where many laughs were enjoyed and lifelong memories created.
Don was innately and insatiably curious and loved learning about many different things - all things plants, of course, but also history, architecture and model trains to name a few of his interests. After his retirement as a salesman from Frazee Paints in the late 90s, Don leaned into his enthusiasm around plants and nature and became an active member of local organizations such as the Palomar Cactus & Succulent Society, Quail Gardens (now the San Diego Botanic Garden), the San Diego Bromeliad Society, Alta Vista Gardens, and others. He enjoyed being a docent, serving on the board, meeting people and attending events associated with these organizations.
Don met his wife of 55 years, Mary Carolin, in 1965 and they were married in 1967. They moved to Escondido in 1970 to raise their family. They shared a love of nature and of gardening, as well as of their dear friends and their families. They also shared their strong faith and in recent years were engaged with the people and events at Trinity. Don was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Carolin and is survived by daughters Maria and Andrea, son in law Tory and two grandchildren, Katrina and Alyssa. He is also survived by his sister in law, Jean and several family members who reside in Illinois.
Services will be held at Trinity Episcopal Church in Escondido on March 10th at 11am with a light lunch to follow.
The family welcomes donations to the Escondido Creek Conservancy in support of the Elfin Forest reserve, as an expression of sympathy, and in lieu of flowers.