David Albert Nelson

Nov. 19, 1940 — July 2, 2019

From Richland, WABorn in Great Falls, MT

Celebration of Life

  •   Starts:
    Sat, July 13 2019, 10:30 a.m.
  •   Location:

    Meadow Spring Presbyterian Church in Richland

Dave Nelson passed over the Great Divide at Guardian Angel under the care of Hospice on July 2, 2019. He was born in Great Falls, Montana on 19 November 1940 to Ethel and Albert Nelson; He is survived by his best friend and wife of 56 years. They have 2 sons Scott (children Nadya and Phineas) and Kirk (wife Jennifer, children Peri and Cole)

Dave graduated from Montana State University with a BS and PHD in Chemistry. He was a Reserve Officer in the Army Chemical Corps from 1966-1972. He and Linda lived in Alabama, Michigan, and Colorado before coming to the Tri-Cities in 1977. His favorite assignment was the year he spent working in Washington DC for the Department of Energy and Department of State.

He was interested in helping scientists from the former Soviet Union establish research projects outside their prior weapons experience. He thoroughly enjoyed teaching US Customs and Border Patrol at his final years at Pacific Northwest Laboratory. He worked at Battelle for 35 years.

Aside from fly fishing and water color painting, he pursued growing native plants (particularly paintbrush and hybrid penstemon). His results were published in several national journals. He was a member of Master Gardeners, Native Plant Society. His backyard is brilliant with native wildflowers and continues to change, flourish and appears to look like a mountain hillside filled with native flowers. He was a member of Tapteal Greenway, and their attempt to maintain Open Spaces in the Tri-City Region. His real pride was watching the progress of his two sons and knowing he married his true soul mate.

Standing calmly at the crossroads, no desire to run; there's no hurry any more, when all is said and done.

A Celebration of Life for David will be held on Saturday, July 13, 2019 at 10:30 am at the Meadow Spring Presbyterian Church in Richland.

Memorials can be made to the Michael J. Fox Parkinson’s Foundation, P.O. Box 5017, Hagerstown, MD 21741-5014 or the Master Gardener Demonstration Garden, 1620 S. Union Street, Kennewick WA 99338 and Tapteal Greenway, P.O. Box 2002, Richland, WA 99352.


Guestbook for

David Albert Nelson


  • It was such an honor to have Dave as a dedicated longtime volunteer in the WSU Master Gardener program. I will remember his friendliness, modesty, intelligence, and delight in learning. I greatly respected his personal gardening experience and his vast knowledge of penstemon and other native plants. He generously shared this knowledge with all of us. What I will remember most about him was the gentle smile that was always on his face and his kind words for others. Dave was a special person and a great gardener. May the Nelson family find comfort in knowing that he will also be missed by his many gardening friends.

    Marianne Ophardt
    July 16, 2019
    Spokane, WA
  • I will miss Dave. I worked with him for many years at Battelle and knew him with the Master Gardeners for several years. He always had a dry sense of humor and was always willing to help. He was a good man and I am sure a good husband and father.

    Bob Fellows
    July 15, 2019
    Richland
  • I am so very saddened to hear of Dave's passing. I remember Dave from my early days at PNNL as a kind soul that took that time to make me feel welcome. Thank you Dave.

    Susie Stenkamp
    July 10, 2019
    Leavenworth, WA
  • Dave, was a great mentor and friend. His passion for science, art and nature were always evident and rubbed off on me. I enjoyed working with Dave on developing and delivering WMD emergency response and awareness courses to international and US domestic first responders and law enforcement students. We both enjoyed producing art in many forms and I was grateful that he and Linda allowed me to work on a glass etching for the entry way to their previous home. Dave's dedication and love of family and friends was constant. Thank you for including us in your May Day celebrations each year. We lost a great soul. Dave and Linda were a match made in heaven. Linda, you have my deepest condolences.

    Eric and Vilma Alderson
    July 10, 2019
    West Richland, Washington
  • It was a wonderful Journey bringing beauty and sharing it with all

    Beth nokand
    July 10, 2019
  • It was a privilege to know Dave. When I was a new Master Gardener I greatly appreciated his help and guidance. Truly a remarkable person in so many ways.

    Mariana Haug
    July 9, 2019
    Kennewick WA
  • Dave, Your consistency, intelligent creativity, and, of course, your smiling face, will be missed. I did not get to know you well, but you were always solid in your determination and commitment to the Tapteal Greenway. Thanks, Tom

    Tom McClelland
    July 9, 2019
    29507 E. Ridgecrest Dr. N. E. Benton City, WA. 99320
  • I am so sorry to hear of Dave's passing. He was very well respected in the Master Gardener program. That's where I had the pleasure of knowing him and enjoying his sense of humor. It's good to know his struggle is over. My heaetfelt condolences to the Nelson family.

    Sherri Witt
    July 8, 2019
    Former Richland resident, now I Issaquah WA.
  • Praying for you and your family to be comforted in Jesus loving arms!

    Marlene Schweighardt
    July 8, 2019
    Kennewick WA
  • Dave was an amazing individual and talented gardener. He had such an amazing depth of knowledge about gardening that he was always willing to share...He will truly be missed. I am glad to say that I had the privilege of knowing him.

    Eileen Hewitt
    July 8, 2019
    WSU Benton County Extension
  • Dave was one of the most professional colleagues it has been my honor to know. Judy and I will always cherish the friendship which Dave and Linda shared with us over the years. We are continuing to remember the wine, food and the good times we shared together.

    Bob & Judy Hull
    July 7, 2019
    Alexandria, VA
  • Linda and family, We are so sorry to hear of Dave's passing. I'm so happy we got to visit with him at last year's Tapteal meeting. I can remember so many meetings in your dining area, and living room, and Dave's calm, deep voice helping to guide the Tapteal Greenway. Thank you so much for sharing him with our community! Wishing you happy memories in this sad time.

    Mike & Ginger Wireman
    July 6, 2019
    Richland
  • I enjoyed our scientific collaboration and the times we would gather with the family for a social time. His art ability was quite impressive, he had an office without windows in the 300 N area and proceeded to paint a view of Montana. When he was finished it indeed appeared as if there was a window in the wall, and we were not in Richland. It was an honor and pleasure to know Dave and be a colleague.

    Jim Duncan
    July 5, 2019
    Kennewick, WA
  • It was my great pleasure to know and work with Dave at Battelle/PNNL, first as chemists in the research lab, and secondly as instructors for the RADACAD training program. Dave and I both chugged coffee at work until he couldn't do it anymore, but most assuredly, that didn't slow him down one bit. He was very passionate about working on his garden and researching native plants and we always had some interesting conversations about those activities -- his passion along with painting. We had loads of fun trying to foil the US Customs and Border Patrol trainees -- Dave was a very successful smuggler much to their chagrin. My thoughts are with Linda, Scott, and Kirk as they go through this life transition. I'm missing anther rock that I've known since 1992, but I also understand that the firmament is now strengthened after a life well-lived.

    Tim Hubler
    July 5, 2019
    Benton City, WA
  • Dave, you have now crossed over to the greatest of all open spaces. Enjoy the journey, my friend.

    Scott Woodward
    July 4, 2019
    Richland
  • What a remarkable guy full of so many accomplishments and talents. We've had so many fun times together over the many years I've known you and Linda tromping around the beautiful Pacific NW and seeing all the beauty of God's handiwork. Dave, you most definitely fought the Good Fight to live each moment to its fullest for as long as you possibly could. You're at peace now. Rest well my dear friend. With love and tears, Marilin

    Marilin Wolford
    July 4, 2019
    Kennewick, WA

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