Obituaries - March 29, 2017

SPRUCE PINE

F. Jack Nelson

F. Jack Nelson, 76, of Spruce Pine, NC managed to leave this house he loved feet first, just as he intended when he bought it 20 years ago. Always in charge, he died on March 17, 2017 in the 17th home he had provided for his family. He was born in Danville, IL on October 18, 1940 and raised in Peoria by his father Fred J. Nelson Sr. who taught him to strive to do the best work possible at any venture (and how to out-fish his brother Randy) and his loving mother Louise Temple Nelson the Victorian Lady, who was frequently astonished at what she had produced. He graduated from Augustana College in Rock Island, IL four months after marrying the “love of his life”, Roberta (Bobbie) Sundling, a fellow student there. Their 55th Anniversary was in February. 

Beginning his professional life as an auditor for Arthur Andersen in Chicago, he next managed to work for several firms either as Controller (the youngest one ever, at Elgin National Watch Company) or Financial Vice-President on his way to his favorite ever job representing the President and owner of a pipeline coating and construction company home - based in Oklahoma. In his ventures, he moved the family while he worked in Denver, San Francisco, New Orleans, Bartlesville, OK, Houston, the Philadelphia area, Plymouth and Lakeville, MA. He travelled much of the world and negotiated business deals with Russian firms and throughout the Middle-East, and oversaw projects such as a section of the Alyeska Pipeline and others in Canada, Mexico and Europe.

He was a fine fisherman and hunted game in several states and a few countries. He and Bobbie won their divisions in a Ladies’ and Men’s salmon fishing tournament during a Pipeline Convention in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, but his favorite fishing was during family vacations at Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park, CO. The level of competition amongst the family members for bringing in the biggest trout is still legend in their stories. And he was an avid golf and football fan, having lettered in those sports in high school and college. He was a gifted storyteller of his adventures around the world, and a notorious entertainer of business acquaintances and friends when he managed to stay home long enough to do so. Jack had a well justified reputation as “the Chef” and created several recipes popular with the family.

Preceding him in death are his parents and sister, Marilyn Nelson Morse. Surviving are his wife Bobbie, daughter Laura Jean Nelson and sons Eric Allan Nelson and Bradley Temple Nelson (Alyssa Shatford). Five grandsons, Brian Matthew Opat (Brandi Richter) and children Kaitlynn, Lailah, Wyatt, Brina and Caleigh Jo; Richard Greggory Opat (Christie Holland) and children Vanessa, Jack, and Collin, step-children Tiffani and Dustin Stanley; Jeffrey Michael Opat; Robert Temple Nelson and William Power Nelson. Also surviving are his brother Randall Alan Nelson and his brother-in-law Alan Nelson Sundling and his wife Angela, five nephews and three nieces and their children. Since he was a dog lover from his youth, also grieving his loss are his two French Bulldogs and his Bullmastiff.

Jack was a larger than life character who was loved and will not easily be forgotten.

Asheville Area Alternative Funeral and Cremation Services are assisting the family. His wishes were that no formal services be held, and that people who knew him will remember him in their own way. The family will gather for a Memory Party at a later date. We wish to thank Hospice and Palliative Care of the Blue Ridge for their tender and thoughtful ministrations, and especially his primary Nurse, Terra McKinney.

SPRUCE PINE

Rebecca (Becky) Hogan Walker

Becky, born in Burlington, moved her membership to the Church Triumphant March 21,2017. 

She graduated from Burlington High School and attended Women’s College of Greensboro. She married Marvin Edwin Walker in 1947 and moved to Durham in 1948. Becky was a charter member and Elder at Westminster Presbyterian Church, where she served as chair of the Alter Guild for 40 years. She was a Girl Scout leader for 30 years and was honored with Service Leadership awards. Becky worked with and hosted exchange students through the American Field Service and was honored as “Mother of the Year” in 1969. She worked as an antiques dealer and floral designer. Her main focus was her four children. The family enjoyed 52 years at their beloved chalet on Humpback Mountain near Spruce Pine.

She was the daughter of Wilmer Stroud and Reba Reeves Hogan, and the mother of Jan Walker Ostergard (deceased), Jill Walker Denton, Joy Walker Hollar (Paul) and Marvin Walker Jr. (Diane); grandchildren are Jenna Madani (Sia), William Denton, Becca Horney (Mitchell), Reeves Hollar, Clarkston Hollar, Maria Walker, Bretta Walker and Juliana Walker; and great-grandchildren are Chandler and Elli Horney, and Oliver and Isabel Madani.

Services to celebrate her life were 1 p.m. Friday, March 24, at Westminster Presbyterian Church. An additional service is at Carolina Meadows with the date to be announced. Memorial gifts may be made to Westminster Presbyterian Church Youth Ministry-Missions.

The MItchell News

Mailing Address: PO Box 339 
Spruce Pine, NC 28777 
Phone: 828-765-7169
Fax: 828-765-1616