David Ernest Nelson entered into his rest on July 27, 2018 at the age of 95. He was born October 9, 1922, in Redmond, Oregon, to Ernest Nelson (nee Nilsson), a Swedish immigrant, and Renza Steuernagle Nelson, of Minnesota. As an infant, David traveled with his older sister, Nella, and their parents in a covered wagon from Redmond, Oregon to Monroe, WA.

The family settled in Monroe on the Steffen Ranch. Homesteading this ranch became an important part of Dave’s life as they raised cows, fished, hunted and grew a garden. All this was done to feed the family during the Depression years. In addition to his own farm chores, Dave grew up milking neighbors’ cows before and after school, baling hay on neighboring farms and helping his Father, who continued to work in the logging industry. It was during this time that Dave’s Dad, in an effort to put food on the table for his family, made moonshine – illegal at that time. He would put the brew in oak casks hung high in the trees, where the gentle sway of the branches would help age and flavor it. Dave remembers helping his Dad move stills to a new, secret location when the authorities would come calling. Ernest Nelson’s moonshine was said to be some of the best and, in spite of association with illegal moonshine, Dave spent his adult years as a law abiding citizen.

Dave grew up spending most of his time outdoors hunting, fishing, and mushroom picking. He loved the woods and rivers. Perhaps because he grew up during the depression era, Dave was extremely creative and learned skills from others as they all worked to get by. He would use this creativity to build or better a piece of equipment that they were unable to purchase, and creativity followed Dave throughout his lifetime. Years later, the family moved to Skykomish, WA where Dave’s Dad (and for a while Dave) worked in the lumber mill. He was no stranger to hard work and took responsibility very seriously.

Dave’s commitment to a project was reflected in him earning the honor of Eagle Scout at age 17. At age 18, Dave enlisted in the U.S. Navy. After training in San Diego, CA, he reported for duty aboard the USS Whitney, a Destroyer Tender, in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. It was there that he and shipmates were rolled from their cots in the early morning hours of December 7, 1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Dave’s Pearl Harbor experience and assignments on other ships that carried him around the world during WWII, including the South Pacific, Alaska, South China Sea, and lower Japan area, made Dave long for the quiet country life he grew up with. After 22 years of honorably serving his country, Dave retired as Store Keeper Chief 3. Men who served under him appreciated his leadership style as he never ordered anyone to do a task that he himself hadn’t or wouldn’t do.

The years following his military retirement found Dave working a variety of jobs, sometimes two and three jobs at a time. He put to use all of the skills learned on the farm and serving in the Navy: Building fences, operating machinery, running the Fuel Farm at the Naval Air Station, to name a few.

In 1952, Dave married Lydia Ruth Babcock. Together they raised three daughters in the Bothell/Kenmore area and years were spent with extended family in outdoor activities, enjoying Sunday morning pancakes and backyard fun. In 1978 Dave and Ruth moved back to Monroe onto 10 acres Dave had developed and cleared. Dave and Monroe native, Arne Johnson, built a beautiful barn/shop/apartment where Dave and Ruth lived until their home was completed.

In the early seventies, Dave studied for and received his Real Estate License and eventually became a Real Estate Broker. He owned and operated Tri-Valley Realty in Snohomish, WA for 20 years. He loved selling vacant land most of all and spent hours driving the old roads and tramping across vacant land. When he wasn’t selling property, Dave was fencing his land for beef, building a chicken coop, putting in a garden, or building a smoker for fish. Dave’s barn shop - his pride and joy – was filled with tools, saws, equipment, creatively built engineering marvels, including a wine room for his home-made wine. Dave refurbished an old red tractor, built doll cradles for his granddaughters, shoeshine kits for grandsons and sons-in-law, bird houses, a bunny coop for 4-H, and whatever else was needed.

Dave’s other pride and joy was his portable saw mill with which he processed trees taken from his “square ten.” He made boards which were built into sheds on the property as well as sold or given to folks for their building needs. Throughout his life, beginning with his childhood dog, Barkus, Dave had a love for animals. Dogs, cats, cows, horses, chickens and more. Kit (as in Kit Carson), his sidekick, a cat with the coloring of a black angus cow, could be found at his side all over the property, keeping him company and surveying his projects. Perhaps his love of animals was a bit more acceptable to his wife and daughters when he referred to them as his “Heifer Ranch.”

Idleness was not part of Dave’s makeup and he stayed active on the farm until fall of 2015. Dave spent his remaining years at Clare Bridge Memory Care Home in Monroe.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Lydia Ruth Nelson. Dave is survived by his children, Lana Stephens of Kirkland, Julie Nelson (Marc) of Olympia, Becky LaDuke (Dave), of Colville, and grandchildren, Donald Stephens (Linda), Brent Stephens, Erin Prewitt, Laura Jones (Billy), and great-grandchildren, Jacob Stephens, Zachary Stephens, Lillie Stephens, Kyra Hulett and Charlotte Jones.

Dave was a member of Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, Fleet Reserve Association and Lifetime Member of the NRA.

Funeral services for Dave were held at Purdy & Kerr in Monroe, Monday, August 6, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. with a reception immediately following.

You can search the website of the Monroe Monitor Newspaper to read articles about Dave and his WWII Military Service.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Dave’s honor may be made to: Monroe Historical Society, P.O. Box 1044, Monroe, WA 98272http://www.monroehistoricalsociety.com

EOD Warrior Foundation, 701 E. John Sims Parkway, Ste. 305 Niceville, FL 32578 Web: http://www.eodwarriorfoundation.org/

The NRA Foundation, 11250 Waples Mill Rd, Fairfax, VA 22030 Web: