Dr. Ralph Nelson, age 95, passed away in Albuquerque, NM on Tuesday, November 10, 2020, while surrounded by his family. Ralph was born on April 23, 1925 in Moline, Illinois. After graduating from Rock Island High School in 1943, he was drafted into the US Army and was later assigned to the 106th Infantry Division. On December 16, 1944, while fighting in the Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes Forest, Belgium, he was taken prisoner by German forces and transported to a POW camp, Bad Orb, outside Frankfurt, Germany. After his liberation by Allied Forces in April 1945, he returned home to Rock Island where he completed his undergraduate education at Augustana College and then went onto The University of Illinois, College of Dentistry. He married Rhoda Larsen on September 11, 1949. After graduation, in 1951, Ralph and Rhoda moved to Los Alamos, NM to begin practicing dentistry and raise a family. He developed a thriving practice and retired in 1991 after 40 years of service to the community. Ralph was a 40-year member of the American Dental Association, a Fellow of the International College of Dentistry, the New Mexico State Dental Society, the Kiwanis Club of Los Alamos, NM, and the NM chapter of the American Ex-Prisoners of War. He and Rhoda moved to Albuquerque in 2006 where he resided until his passing.
Ralph is survived by his loving wife of 71 years, Rhoda; three daughters, Christine Lee (Claude) of Albuquerque, Brenda Nielsen of Copenhagen, Denmark, Deanne Renfro (Greg) of Trabuco Canyon, CA; and his son, Erik Nelson (Anne) of Texico, NM. He is also survived by his eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Ralph enjoyed hunting, fishing, tennis, and golf in his spare time. Ralph loved the outdoors and was an avid bird watcher. Above all, Ralph, a man of faith, loved his family and was an active participant in his Church. He loved to travel and had a remarkable memory and recollection of details. Ralph was preceded in death by his parents, Ethel and Julius Nelson, and his son-in-law, Claude.
Ralph was a caring, loving husband and father who touched many lives. He will be missed by all who knew him.
The Service of Worship in celebration of the life of Ralph Nelson will be offered at Faith Lutheran Church located at 10000 Spain Road, N.E., Albuquerque, NM, 87111 on Friday, November 20, at 11:00 a.m. In-person attendance is limited by COVID-19 occupancy for houses of worship, a live stream of the service will be available on the Faith Lutheran YouTube channel at www.faithabq.org/videos. The Interment will follow at 2:15 p.m. at the Santa Fe National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be given to your favorite charity in Ralph Nelson’s honor.
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