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Carl W. Nelson, 100, entered eternal rest on February 3, 2024, at SpiriTrust Lutheran. He was born on December 31, 1923, to Joseph W. Nelson and Mary (Renard) Nelson on the small family farm in Monaghan Twp, York County, PA. In addition to his parents, Carl was preceded in death by an older brother, J. Raymond Nelson, and a younger sister, Arlene Gouse. He is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, W. Marlene (Durston) Nelson, children Todd D. Nelson (Mary Ann), Timothy D. Nelson (Una), and Amy L. Nelson (Gary Kaschak), as well as seven grandchildren: Jordan Nelson (Lauren); Jonathan Nelson, Christian Kaschak (Heather), Victoria Nelson, Caroline Kaschak, Joseph Nelson, and Matthew Nelson.
During the dark days of the depression, he attended Filey’s one room school in his home township. Carl was a bright and eager student and graduated from Mechanicsburg High School in 1940 at the age of 16.
Carl Nelson proudly served his country in the Army Air Corps during World War II. During his military service he studied at Grinnel College, The University of Chicago, and Texas A&M. Following his Honorable Discharge, Carl entered Millersville State Teachers College where, in 1949, he earned a B.S. degree in education and was honored to be named in the publication “Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities.” In 1951 he earned his Master of Education degree from Penn State.
In the fall of 1949, Carl accepted a position in Mt. Wolf, teaching English in the Junior High School. He later became principal of that school, before moving to the principalship of Manchester High School. In 1958 he became the principal of the new Northeastern High School. In November of that year, he was elected to serve in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
Following his service in the House, Carl was employed in the Pennsylvania Senate as a research analyst for the Majority Leader, Senator Charles Weiner. After the 1960 census, he was instructed to draw up a reapportionment bill for the fifty Senate Districts with the instruction: “Pay no attention to politics, just do a fair and equitable distribution.” He was proud to have succeeded, with only one amendment to that bill.
Carl returned to education as principal of Dover Area High School, where he served for 19 years before his retirement in 1983.
Carl lived a life of honor and service. In addition to his many acts of service in the Lutheran Church, he was a proud Lion for over 70 years, becoming a Jones Fellow and holding Life Membership in that organization. He served ten years as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Harrisburg State Hospital before its closing, and an equal amount of time as a member of the Board of the Heritage Senior Center in Dover Township. He and his wife Marlene were active in the Democratic party and served many happy years as volunteers at the Strand Capitol Theater in York. Carl was always warm and gregarious and made friends with everyone he met.
A devoted husband, father and grandfather, Carl’s greatest joy was his family. He and Marlene did everything together, and in their later years, his loving devotion to caring for her was an inspiration to all. They loved to travel and passed that wanderlust along to their children. Carl took particular pride in the accomplishments of his children and grandchildren. When his grandchildren were young, he enjoyed taking them fishing at his cabin in Perry County. As they got older, he proudly watched them play sports, music, and achieve academically. Throughout his life, his happiest times were those spent with his family.
“The purpose of life is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well." — Ralph Waldo Emerson. Carl Nelson lived well and will be dearly missed by all who knew him.
Services will be held Saturday, February 10, 2024, at 11:00 am at the Shiloh Evangelical Lutheran Church, 2201 Church Rd., York, PA. A viewing will be held Saturday from 9:00-11:00 am at the church.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Shiloh Evangelical Lutheran Church, 2201 Church Rd., York, PA 17408.
Shiloh Evangelical Lutheran Church
2201 Church Road, York PA 17408