Obituary: Nelson, Duane
1925 - 2012
Duane Lee Nelson passed away on June 15, 2012. He was born in Beloit, KS to Robert and Ruth Nelson and has been a resident of Spokane since 1956. Duane was an Eagle and Sea Scout in addition to most valuable athlete of his high school in Salina, Kansas.
Duane enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1943. He served in the South Pacific for three years during WWII, fighting in the invasions of Peleliu and Okinawa, then spending six months in China. Upon his return, in 1947, he married Donna Lockie. He played football and basketball at Kansas State University while earning a degree in Ornamental Horticulture. He was called into the Army during the Korean War. He retired as a Lt. Colonel in 1976 after serving many years with the Army Reserves.
Duane established Nelson Landscape Service in 1958. He received several national awards for beautification of northwest highways and parks as well as leaving a lasting legacy with his landscaping of Riverfront Park. Duane was the national president of the Associated Landscape Contractors of America and Spokane Nurserymen’s Association. He served on the board of the Spokane Tennis Association, Association of General Contractors, Landscape Advisory Board for the WA Dept. of Transportation, and the 1979 Washington State University Building Committee. One of his proudest moments was seeing the completion of the North YMCA on Newport Highway that was built on his donated homestead land, as a place for all families to enjoy. He and Donna enjoyed traveling around the world and pursued that love all of his life. After retirement in 1986, he spent winters in Kauai and Arizona developing his love of painting with watercolors and oils and playing tennis. After Donna passed away in 2003, Duane married Carol Manikowski with whom he continued to enjoy a rich and full life of traveling.
Duane was known for his integrity, great wit, and loyalty to his friends and family.
Survivors include his wife, Carol Manikowski Nelson; daughter Becky (Bob) Clark of Colbert; and two sons Dan (Debi) Nelson of Corvallis, OR and Dave (Kerry) Nelson of Colbert; Gpa’s grandchildren: Chelsea, Casey, Katrina, Molly, Ian, Spencer, Blake and Megan; three great-grandchildren and his sister Jane Gorseth in Alaska. Duane will also be greatly missed by his wife and her children, Shari, Lauri and Dave Manikowski, as well as Carol’s three grandchildren and all of his many friends and business associates.
A memorial service for Duane L. Nelson will be held at 11:00 AM on Wednesday, June 20, 2012 at RIPLINGER FUNERAL HOME AND CREMATORY, 4305 N. DIVISION, SPOKANE, WA. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Spokane, 121 S. Arthur, PO Box 2215, Spokane, WA 99210. Online guestbook at www.riplingers.com.