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March 27, 2012
Roger Henry Nelson
Tuesday, Mar. 27, 2012
Roger Henry Nelson, long-time Pullman resident and WSU faculty member, passed away March 27, 2012, at his assisted living residence in Bellevue, Wash.
His death was the result of long illness. He died peacefully with his wife, Eileen, at his bedside.
Roger was born in Boise, Idaho, in May 1926 to Henry and Idris Nelson. He was the second of two children. He grew up in Boise, working in the family grocery store.
After graduation from high school in 1944, Roger joined the Army to fight in World War II, serving in the Pacific Theater in the 1st Calvary Division. After his service, he developed a relationship with Eileen Mae Brewster, whom he had known since junior high, and they were married in August 1948.
After their wedding Roger and Eileen packed up their new trailer home and moved to Boulder, Colo., where Roger pursued his education in civil engineering at the University of Colorado. He began teaching civil engineering at Washington State College (now WSU) in 1955. He taught until his retirement in 1989 when he retired as a full professor.
Roger lived a full life in Pullman. He and Eileen had many dear friends in the community and in the college of engineering, and were active members of Simpson United Methodist Church. Roger built the house they lived in on Orion Drive - a labor of love that began in 1956 and took eight years to complete. They raised four children - Pam, Jan, Bart and Mark, all of whom completed their undergraduate degrees at WSU. For almost 30 years Roger spent summers at the WSU Survey Camp on White Pass (Washington). Roger taught surveying and acted as camp manager for several years.
In 2007 Roger and Eileen packed up their Pullman residence and moved to Issaquah, Wash., to be near their children and grandchildren.
Roger is survived by his wife, Eileen; his daughter, Jan Gaylord, and son-in-law, Will Gaylord, of Sammamish; son, Bart Nelson, and daughter-in-law, Angie Nelson, of Kent; and son, Mark Nelson, and former daughter-in-law, Heather Nelson, of Poulsbo. His grandchildren include Kendra Nelson, daughter of Bart; and Corey, Nicholas and Ryan Nelson, sons of Mark. He was predeceased by his daughter, Pam Nelson, who died in 1986, and his sister Maxine.
In lieu of a funeral the family has chosen to have a small family gathering to honor and celebrate Roger's life. Roger's ashes have been interred at Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent, Wash.