June 5, 1931 – February 6, 2021

A graveside service with military honors for Clarence A. Nelson, 89, of Coos Bay was held at Sunset Memorial Park in Coos Bay, officiated by Tom Leahy.

Clarence was born June 5, 1931 at Keizer Hospital in North Bend to parents Arthur E. and Ines J. (Lundstrom) Nelson. He passed in his home February 6, 2021.

Clarence was the oldest of four children, sister, Hazel Bredskar and brothers, Ronald Nelson and Leonard “Bub” Nelson. They were raised on the family dairy farm on Haynes Inlet. They went to school at Haynes Inlet, Sunny Hill, Redmond High School and North Bend High School, where Clarence graduated in 1949. He attended Southern Oregon (BS) and the University of Oregon (Master’s degree in Education).

Before joining the Navy he traveled the local area for the dairy testing program. He served in the Navy 1950-54 and spent the first 18 months (after basic) in Kodiak, Alaska during the Korean War. He came home in August of 1952 and married the “girl next door” Bette Davis. She grew up on a dairy farm just up the inlet so he’d known her all his life and was his sister’s best friend. They spent the rest of his service stationed in San Diego before returning to Coos County. Together they had four children, Eloise (and Dennis) Lovie, Jaynee Kanui, Chuck Nelson (and daughter-in-law, Diane) and Lori Nelson.

He started his 30-year teaching career teaching 8th grade at Sunny Hill. He continued teaching, mostly grades 4-6, and PE at Langlois, Allegany, Coos River, Englewood and Madison Schools.

During early years teaching, he worked many summers at local mills or attending summer school. They made sending Bette back to school a family project to get her teaching degree. He was very active in the local, state and national teachers unions: CBEA (past president), OEA and NEA. He represented the local and state unions at many national conventions around the US, many with Bette also as a representative.

Clarence and Bette were involved in 4-H as youths and also active in North Bayside Grange and the local Runeberg organization. They had their children involved in Runeberg Scandinavian Dancing. He was also involved in the Haynes Inlet Drainage District, as were his parents and grandparents. He enjoyed working with cattle on the farm on Haynes they purchased in 1973, being able to repurchase some of family property. He had many a meal at Mom’s Kitchen on his way to or from the farm after they moved to town in 1983.

They loved and enjoyed their six grandchildren, Ben Nelson (and Jodi), Leanne Lovie (and Dennis), Sara Nelson, Becca Simpson (and David), James “Artie” George (and Melanie) and Alice Turpen (and Dan); also their eleven great grandchildren, Annika Simpson, Jordan Nelson, Hunter Nelson, Wyatt Nelson, Ava Simpson, Mackenzie George, Gray Lovie-Halliday, Bubbie Simpson, Addison George, Mikey Simpson and Alexander Simpson. They would travel wherever to visit their kids and grandkids, including Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming, New Mexico and California. They also had many adventures traveling the world. He enjoyed many a card game with family, especially Swedish Rummy and Cribbage. 

A very special thank you to Dennis Halliday for pitching in wherever needed and for cooking their dinners for the past five years.

He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Bette; his children; grandchildren; great grandchildren; many nieces and a nephew. Many will remember his love and humor and a smiling light in his eyes, (as if he knew a secret as one friend said).

Clarence is preceded in death by his parents, sister, sisters in law, brothers in law, son in law and nephews.

A big thank you to his caregivers over the last year and a half; he did enjoy teasing them.

Arrangements are under the care of Coos Bay Chapel, 541-267-3131. Friends and family are invited to sign the online guestbook at www.coosbayareafunerals.com

To plant a tree in memory of Clarence Nelson as a living tribute, please visit Tribute Store.

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