Mt Pleasant News

Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | May 27, 2018

James Kenneth Nelson

Jun 23, 2017
Photo by: Submitted

James Kenneth Nelson


Jim died on May 24, 2017 after surgery. He lived a full life of adventures and successes.

His parents were Kenneth W. Nelson and Helen Aicher Nelson of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. Jim’s high school days were dominated by football, basketball and then, track in the spring. When college beckoned, Jim played on the freshman football team as halfback for Vanderbilt University and was written up as “the surprise of Vanderbilt’s spring football drills” . Jim concentrated on his studies and was accepted into Vanderbilt Law School where he was invited to the Vanderbilt Law Review. After law school, Jim was called into service in the U.S. Army. His first assignment was in the Armor Division and shortly after was transferred to the 1st Special Forces Group – Airborne, serving in Vietnam. On his second tour he worked with Vietnamese hill people who were “still in the 1800’s” and whom he admired for their honesty and fighting skills.

Returning from Vietnam, Jim clerked in the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals for the renowned Judge Harry Phillips. Business law followed with the highly regarded firm of Taft, Stettinius, Hollister in Cincinnati. Jim continued in real estate law with First National Bank of Chicago where he described his occupation as International Real Estate Attorney. Condominium conversion was a new field, and he then joined a pioneering firm in Chicago as Counsel which converted luxury East Coast apartment buildings to condominiums.

Upon early retirement and moving to San Francisco, Jim took up tennis seriously and soon joined a senior’s team which went to the Nationals several years in a row, successfully! Tennis friends convinced Jim to study umpiring and refereeing. He first worked local then state, and then national professional tournaments. Jim worked his way up to officiating at the U.S. Open and working there for 6 years paved the way to his second retirement.

At his home in San Francisco, his cats, his back yard reading a book or paper, a cigar or two, an appropriate beverage and a new fast car from time to time entertained Jim.

Jim is survived by his wife Jan Minar and his sister, Judy Nelson of San Francisco.

A ceremony and burial will be held this autumn in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington Virginia. The date has not yet been determined.

For information regarding the Arlington dates, please contact

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