In loving memory of Ronald Nelson: Aug. 26, 1937 - Oct. 31, 2022


Ronald Gene Nelson has left this place for a better one. He passed away surrounded by love, friendship and one of his two precious dogs, Olaf. Leaving was hard for him, but he is now at peace. 

Ron was born in Marshfield, Wisconsin, the youngest of four children. He grew up on a ranch in Shandon, California with his parents, Clara and Elmer Nelson. After high school and college, where he received a teaching degree, he inspired children in the classroom with his unique approach to life: being positive, being confident and being strong. Sometime in the late 1960s, he moved to Merced, California. There, he ultimately began his long career in hotel hospitality, hotel management and hotel renovation. He managed a small Motel 6 establishment. Around the early 1970s, he moved on to bigger and better opportunities. He went to Lakeland Village in South Lake Tahoe, California. Next, he went to North Star Resort and Bitter Brush Resort on North Shore Lake Tahoe. In the early 1980s, he started working for the Holiday Inn Corporation and traveled, on their behalf, spreading his unique and well educated “hospitality approach” to various locations in San Francisco, San Juan Capistrano, Hawaii and Denver, just to name a few. When he left them, he went to The Los Gatos Lodge in Los Gatos, California. 

He retired in 2003 and came to live in the Carson Valley-Gardnerville area. There he concentrated on doing things he loved like fishing, hiking, boating, gardening, birdwatching, stargazing and sharing his life with friends who were more like family. He also volunteered every year at the local fishing derby. His nephew, Jimmy Nelson, would come down from Washington to volunteer with him. Ron was an excellent chef and through thousands of dinner parties and entertaining, he “perfected the trait” of using absolutely every plate, glass, utensil, pot and pan in your kitchen or his, to serve breakfast, lunch, dinner or desserts with a delicious and consistent flair. We all benefited. 

In 2012 or 2013, he moved to Woodland, Washington. He wanted to be closer to his two nephews, Larry and Jimmy Nelson. This was a whole new special chapter of his life: new friends to be made, new surroundings and new ears to hear old stories. His love of all animals was huge, especially his pets: Bruno, Eleanor (also known as Bushy Bottom), Sum and Fun (two Siamese cats), Duffy, Jack the Cat and Charlie have now happily reunited with him. Olaf and Schroeder will move on with many cherished memories. 

Ron is survived by his closest nieces and nephew, Kay Lyons of Michigan, Linda Clark of Maryland and Arizona, and Jimmy Nelson of Woodland. He is also survived by numerous additional nieces and nephews and a multitude of friends from California, Nevada and Washington. 

He was preceded by his lifelong friend Mike Koleszar; his parents Elmer and Clara Nelson, his sisters Maxine (Bill) Clark and Harriot (Ralph) Swanson, his brother Lawrence (Alberta) Nelson, and his nephew Larry Nelson. Ron’s big smile, loving spirit, storytelling traits and special approach to life has touched many. Friends came easy to him because he always saw the best in people. He touched, shared, gave and made huge impressions on us. We are better for having shared life with him. We were the lucky ones. 

A memorial service will be held in Woodland, Washington, at a to be announced date. A graveside service will be held in the spring of 2023 at his final resting place, the Genoa Cemetery in Genoa, Nevada, right at the base of the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains with longtime family and friends.