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Virgil Nelson
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Obituary for Virgil Nelson

Virgil F. Nelson, 87, beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend peacefully reached the end of life’s journey of natural causes early the morning of Monday, November 20, 2017.
He was born January 24, 1930 at home in Klamath Falls to Axel and Florence Nelson and older brother, Ardean. He was the middle child eventually having a younger sister, Eileen. During some summers while growing up, he worked with his dad and brother for Cal-Ida Lumber Co. in California and worked in the woods at Tokatee Falls. Virgil graduated from Klamath Union High School in 1948 where he played football and ran track. He also loved water skiing with his high school buddies. After graduation, he went to work for Bend/Portland Truck Service and he drove a freight delivery truck. A couple years later Virgil decided to go into the Army and was later honorably discharged.
Virgil went back to work for Bend/Portland after his army service and soon crossed paths once again with the love of his life, Gloria Vanderhoff. In August of 1952, Virgil and Gloria were married at Klamath Lutheran Church. They lived in Klamath Falls for several years and, in 1958, their first daughter, Lori, was born. They moved to Madras, Oregon and owned and ran a trailer court for about 11 months before moving back to Klamath Falls. They bought the M & R Market and ran the market and lived upstairs. In 1961, their second daughter, Lynn, was born to complete the family.
Virgil and Gloria had a home built on Lombard Drive where they lived until 2003. Virgil worked for Heaton Steel and Supply as a salesman and managed the steel department. He also worked at Sixth Street Steel in the same capacity for a time before eventually returning to Heaton Steel where he retired. He was a people person and so enjoyed interacting with his clients and other customers and always did his best for them.
Throughout his life, Virgil adored the outdoors. He loved hunting and fishing and did a lot of bird hunting while in Madras, but preferred to hunt deer and elk. He loved the challenge and found quite the challenge on his one pronghorn hunt. Hunting was not only to provide food for the family, but it was also family time as they camped and spent quality time together. Cutting firewood and snowmobiling were other outdoor activities they shared.
Virgil loved to dance and he and Gloria would go to the Elk’s Club on many occasions to dance and spend time with friends. He was active in a bowling league for years and was a member of a poker group where he enjoyed the fun and friends.
Sporting events were a large part of life. Not only did he participate growing up, he and Gloria followed the sporting lives of Lori and Lynn as they grew up. From volleyball to basketball to softball to whatever the girls participated in, they provided endless support. Many miles were driven to out–of-town games, high school and college, to be there to root them on. That kind of support continued when they welcomed twin grandsons in 1992 and the twins participated in sports throughout their childhood and even in college.
In 2003, wanting to stay in Oregon, Virgil and Gloria moved to Phoenix. This brought them closer to Lori and her husband, John, as well as downsizing, less snow in the winter, and top medical facilities.
In August of this year, Virgil and Gloria celebrated their 65th anniversary of which Virgil was extremely proud! The milestone was celebrated with a Rogue Jet Boat trip and brunch. Daughters and sons-in-law, as well as grandsons were all together for several days to celebrate the occasion and spend time as a family.
Even in the last few years as he battled medical issues, Virgil still tried to keep a positive attitude. He maintained his sense of humor throughout, continuing to tell stories and share jingles with friends and family. He had a big heart and would do anything he could for you. He was always grateful to those who touched his life and showed him the caring and kindness that he tried to give to others.
Virgil is survived by his beloved wife, Gloria (Phoenix); daughters and sons-in-law, Lori and John Thickett (Talent, OR) and Lynn and Dan Christina (Walla Walla, WA); twin grandsons, Drew and Brett Christina (Billings, MT); sister, Eileen Anderson (Portland); and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents Axel (1973) and Florence (2002) Nelson, and brother, Ardean (2002).
There will be a celebration of a long, loving, well-lived life in the spring/summer of 2018. An announcement will be made at that time.


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