Charles Kent “Chuck” Nelson died peacefully Monday, March 7, 2022, at his home in Troy after a long bout with Alzheimer’s. He was 86 years old.
Chuck was always very proud of the fact that he was born in Troy on July 22, 1935, to Felix and Nettie (Nilson) Nelson. He attended school in Troy until his junior year, when his family moved to Moscow. He graduated from Moscow High School in 1953. Chuck grew up with two younger brothers and his little sister.
Following graduation, Chuck and his cousin, Ole Hanson, enlisted in the U.S. Army, completing basic training at Fort Lewis in Washington and later stationed together at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, where they became paratroopers. After the service, Chuck worked for various farmers and loggers in the Troy area before attending the University of Idaho.
Chuck married Karen Bohman on Aug. 1, 1964, at Troy Lutheran Church. After graduating from the University of Idaho in 1965, they moved to Reedsport, Ore., where they taught for two years. In 1968, Chuck earned his master’s degree at the U of I, and he and Karen were off to Pipestone, Minn. The extreme cold, flat terrain and the opportunity to return home to Idaho for a job teaching computer science in the U of I College of Engineering had them packing up the U-Haul again. They settled happily in Troy, where they raised their sons, Scott and Michael. He continued sharing his gift of teaching at the University of Idaho until retiring in 1998, which allowed him to focus on being the “world’s best Papa” to his three grandchildren, Josh, Olivia and Rozi.
Chuck served the community he loved in many ways. As a young man, he coached boxing to the youth of Troy. He assisted Coach McKie by keeping stats for the Troy High School basketball team and even painted the Trojan head that hung over the locker room for decades. He was a volunteer firefighter and EMT. He also served on the Troy City Council and volunteered on many community projects.
He had a diverse set of interests and skills. His love of photography started in high school, continued in the Army, and later as an artistic pursuit and photographer of his family’s life. Family and friends enjoyed his excellent cooking, whether traditional Scandinavian food, holiday meals, barbecue or whatever he saw in a magazine picture. He displayed his craftsmanship around the house including dry wall, wiring, plumbing and about anything from the roof down. He was an avid backpacker, whether with his sons, grandchildren or solo trips to the back country. He was keen to try new activities like skiing, boating and about anything as long as it included his family. He traveled extensively to Peru, Mexico, Thailand, Spain, Portugal, Costa Rica, the British Isles, Scandinavia and throughout the United States.
The words best describing Chuck are self-sacrificing, giving, intelligent, hardworking, loving and loved. Chuck was preceded in death by his brother, Bob (Bobby Dean).
Chuck is survived by his wife, Karen, his two sons, Scott (along with Lisa and their three children, Josh, Olivia, and Rosalind), and Michael; his brother Dennis; and sister Polly.
The viewing will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Friday and a celebration of life will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, both at Short’s Funeral Chapel in Moscow. A lunch will follow at the Troy Lutheran Church.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in memory of Chuck to Circles of Caring Adult Day Services, 588 SE Bishop Blvd., Suite D, Pullman, WA 99163.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Short’s Funeral Chapel of Moscow, and condolences may be left at shortsfuneralchapel.com.