Craig Robert Nelson obituary photo
 
In Memory of

Craig Robert Nelson

February 5, 1948 - March 10, 2017

Obituary


Craig R. Nelson, 1948-2017

Craig Robert Nelson, 69, of Lakewood, CO, passed away on March 10, 2017, of pancreatic cancer at the Collier Hospice Center surrounded by his family. Craig was born on February 5, 1948, at Naeve Hospital in Albert Lea, MN, to parents Wesley R. and Shirley L. (Christian) Nelson. He grew up in Albert Lea and graduated from Albert Lea High School in 1966. Craig joined the United States Navy, 1966-1970, serving in the Vietnam War as a Corpsman (5/68-5/69) in the field with the Marines. Following his tour of duty,...

Craig R. Nelson, 1948-2017

Craig Robert Nelson, 69, of Lakewood, CO, passed away on March 10, 2017, of pancreatic cancer at the Collier Hospice Center surrounded by his family. Craig was born on February 5, 1948, at Naeve Hospital in Albert Lea, MN, to parents Wesley R. and Shirley L. (Christian) Nelson. He grew up in Albert Lea and graduated from Albert Lea High School in 1966. Craig joined the United States Navy, 1966-1970, serving in the Vietnam War as a Corpsman (5/68-5/69) in the field with the Marines. Following his tour of duty, he returned to the Albert Lea area, attended Austin Junior College, and held various jobs. Wanderlust drew him to California and finally to Colorado in May of 1973,where he was welcomed by his aunt and uncle, Bob and Florence Christian, and family. They became his second family as he settled there. For many years, Craig worked as an Engineer at the Denver Merchandise Mart, retiring in 2014. While working at the "Mart," he met the love of his life, Phyllis Franco. Craig and Phyllis were married July 4,1997, in Lakewood, CO. Craig was welcomed with open arms by Phyllis' family and lovingly became Grandpa and Great-grandpa. The kids were his pride and joy, and he could always be heard bragging about each of them! While growing up, Craig had a passion for animals, especially dogs, and held a part-time job at a local veterinary clinic.

He would bring home strays and care for them, most notable was "Teddy," who became the family's favorite dog. Craig enjoyed traveling with his beloved Phyllis to Colorado Rockies spring training. He enjoyed reading novels, watching the History Channel, playing computer games, and the occasional game of chance. Craig could often be found tinkering in his garage, caring for his goldfish in the pond that he constructed, or working on a building project such as the playhouse for the great-grandkids. He went out of his way to help the neighbors, especially with snow removal, not expecting anything in return. Craig was always available to help family or friends. He and Phyllis made trips to Minnesota to visit family and friends until declining health prevented them from traveling. Craig is survived by his wife, Phyllis; stepchildren, Deb (John) Schwenke, and Michael (Laura) Franco; step-grandchildren, Crystal (Rob) Berger, Joseph Franco, and Jessica (Eleno) Aquirre; step-great-grandchildren, Kyle Berger, Chloe Berger, and Thiago Aquirre; parents, Wesley and Shirley Nelson; sister, Judy (Paul) Dilling; brother, Brian (Cathy) Nelson; sister-in-law, Sharon Peterson; nieces, nephew, aunts, cousins, and many other relatives and friends. Craig was preceded in death by his first wife Elizabeth "Betty" (Buss); grandparents, Nels and Mabel Nelson, and John T. and Esther Christian, parents-in-law, Doyle and Jaunita Laverty; and brother-in-law, Roger Peterson.

A memorial service with military honors will be held at Fort Logan National Cemetery, 3698 S. Sheridan Blvd., Denver CO, on March 21, 2017 at 1 p.m. Please gather at Staging Area "A" at Fort Logan by 12:45 p.m. In lieu of flowers, Memorial contributions may be made in Craig's name to Pancreatic Cancer Network, 1500 Rosecrans Ave, Suite 200, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266, or www.pancan.org, or donor's choice.

Arrangements under the direction of Olinger Crown Hill Mortuary, Cemetary & Arboretum, Wheat Ridge, CO. Online condolences may be made to CrownHillFuneral.com