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American Veteran 02

Ralph Craig Nelson

May 12, 1938 ~ May 25, 2019 (age 81)

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Ralph C. Nelson passed peacefully at home in New Smyrna Beach, FL on May 25, 2019. He was born on May 12, 1938 to Ralph E and Martina V Nelson. He is survived by his wife, Judy Myers Nelson, and his children Craig S. Nelson (Michelle), Coleena D. Hanson (Robert), and Michael L. Nelson (Marie) and four grandchildren.

Ralph lived a truly blessed and fulfilling life. He was a great husband and father and he honorably served in the US Marine Corps. He fully embraced the mantra: Once a Marine, always a Marine and proudly flew the Marine Corps flag over his home in New Smyrna Beach, FL and in Springdale Country Club, Waynesville,NC. Ralph was a patriot.

As a child, Ralph began his world travel when his father was stationed in Germany and Austria with the US Army. They returned to the United States, and he spent his teenage years in Battle Creek, Michigan where he graduated from Battle Creek High School and attended Kellogg Junior College. While working full time and raising his three young children, he attended and graduated from Rollins College with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Finance.

After his military service in the Marine Corps, Ralph had a successful civilian career with the US Army, serving in Washington, DC, then in Orlando where he managed multiple staff programs at the simulation and training organization that is now called the Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation (PEO STRI). Beginning with the Army’s Training Device Agency located on the Navy base, he worked for PM TRADE. He moved with the organization to the Research Park in the late 1980s. Ralph worked on the staff of multiple commanding generals of the US Army STRICOM. During his career at the Army, he traveled to many countries working with US allies on behalf of the Army. He retired from government service in 1997.

During retirement Ralph and his wife, Judy, loved to travel. Their many trips took them around the United States and throughout the world where they made friends everywhere. Ralph always made strangers feel like his best friend. He also took art lessons in his retirement years, developing his artistic talent. He loved recreating buildings of historic personal value for his friends, still life and abstract paintings.

Ralph’s favorite thing to do was spend time with his family and his dog. He also loved to play golf and poker with neighbors and friends. He attended the Mission Road Church of Christ in New Smyrna Beach, FL, and the Central Haywood Church of Christ in Clyde, NC.

Ralph was a rare and special man, a blessing to his family and a wonderful friend to many. He will be missed. The family will hold a Celebration of Life service in the fall. Rememberances can be made in his honor to Sarge's Animal Rescue Foundation, PO Box 854, Waynesville, NC 28786.

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