Richard Burton Nelson, Sr.
August 15, 1930 – June 14, 2015
Richard Burton Nelson, Sr., a former DuPont Company manager, passed away June 14, 2015, at his home in Newark, Delaware. He was 84 years old.
Richard was born on August 15, 1930 in Putnam, Connecticut to Freeman Ruben Nelson and Dorothy Woodbridge (Burton) Nelson and was raised on the family farm in Pomfret, Connecticut. Like many who lived during the depression, he understood the value of hard work. As a young lad one of his first jobs was trapping and selling skunk skins to Sears, Roebuck, Inc. Working for the town of Pomfret and also for local farmers kept him busy before graduating from high school and joining the Navy.
He proudly served four years in the U.S. Navy Special Forces, including the Korean War and was honorably discharged in October, 1952. That year he enrolled in UCONN and during his four years there, he spent summers working at Basin Harbor Club in Vermont. Richard received an Engineering Degree with Honors from the University of Connecticut.
Following college, Richard held various management positions in the DuPont Company, both at the Chambers Works and in the Wilmington corporate office. He received numerous awards and commendation letters during his 30 years with DuPont. He retired in 1985. After retiring, he started Fairwind Associates, a high quality consulting firm.
Richard has a long record of interest in education and service to youth. He is remembered in the community for his work with Junior Achievement, membership on the Newark Delaware Board of Education, and as founder and chairman of the Delaware Educational Resources Association. He is a recipient of the Freedom Foundation Award for his work in rejuvenating Junior Achievement in Delaware through deep involvement of individual school districts within the organization. The plan he developed became a model for Junior Achievement chapters throughout the nation. He received the award in Gettysburg, along with John Wayne.
In retirement, Richard worked as a volunteer in Parents Without Partners Chapter 121 as Coordinator of Program Development and Implementation, receiving the chapter’s award for “Outstanding Member.” Along with his wife Phyllis, he developed a 13-week program to help individuals rebuild their lives after the ending of a relationship. Leading groups through the program, they touched the lives of over 700 individuals.
A competitive sailor and a member of the Georgetown Racing Fleet on the Sassafras River, Richard won many trophies there and during Atlantic City Race Week. As a U.S. Navy Korean War Veteran, he is a life member of the VFW Post 475 Newark, Delaware. He also served several years as U.S. Coast Guard Academy recruiter and Homeland Security Advisor. During his 65-plus years of service in the USCGA he served as a Flotilla Commander and also received the “Outstanding Member” award.
He leaves behind his beloved wife, Phyllis Edwards of Newark, DE, his daughter, Cynthia McNelly (Roy) of Georgia, his son, Richard Nelson, Jr. (Jennifer) of Newark, DE, Phyllis’ daughter, Katherine Tome (James) of North East, MD, Phyllis’ son, Russell Edwards (Sheri) of Elkton, MD, his brothers, Donald Nelson (Maryanne) of Temple, Texas and Peter Nelson (Elaine) of Pomfret, CT and his six grandchildren and three nieces, and Phyllis’ three grandchildren.
A Life Celebration will be held at 12:30 pm on Wednesday afternoon, June 24, 2015, at the Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Home, 121 West Park Place, Newark, DE, where a visitation for family and friends will be held from 11:30 am until 12:30 pm. Interment will follow in the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery, 2465 Chesapeake City Road, Bear, DE.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Newark Senior Center, 200 White Chapel Drive, Newark, DE 19713.