Keith L. Nelson


June 1 2019 — Keith L. Nelson was born to Eleanor and Sidney Nelson on July 25, 1937, in DeSmet, S.D., and has passed away after a long and prosperous life. 

He grew up in the “Little Town on the Prairie,” where he and his brothers, Boyd and Dennis, had all sorts of fun and caused a little bit of mischief on the farm.

It is from his youth that he became a true outdoorsman who loved to pheasant hunt and fish.  Keith passed down his fishing skills to his kids and grandkids.  The love he had for the outdoors was his serenity. 

After graduating from high school, he entered the U.S. Navy, where he served our country for several years. After leaving the Navy, he attended South Dakota State University and earned a bachelor’s degree in education. Later, he earned his master’s degree from Oregon State University. 

Keith’s life always focused on his wife (Joanne, who recently passed), his three children — Pegeen, Nancy and Darek — his daughter-in-law Rita, and his five grandkids: Matthew, Becky, Cree, Mitchell and Ellie. 

Keith began his career in Carlin, Nev., as a special education teacher. He then moved his family to Port Orford, where he taught shop and coached the high school boys’ basketball team. After living in Port Orford a few years, he moved his family north to Florence where he was Siuslaw High School’s counselor and head basketball coach.

Other than hunting and fishing, Keith’s passion was coaching boys high school basketball, where he led Siuslaw to its best state tournament finish at third place.

Keith retired from coaching in the late 70s, turning his attention to his family and construction. 

Along with his wife Joanne, they started Nelson and Nelson Construction. They built several customs homes in the Florence community and performed a countless number of remodels both in town and along all the surrounding lakes. His wood craftsmanship and eye for detail was exceptional.

In addition, Keith spent years of dedicated service on the Florence Planning Commission as well as being a chair for Lane Community College-Florence Campus. 

After a long career with Siuslaw High School, he retired in 1994.  Soon after that, he retired from construction all together. His passions after retirement were his grandkids, golfing, growing a beautiful vegetable garden, and the outdoors. His grandkids brought picnics, fishing, fun and joy to his life. 

Keith will always be remembered as a devoted husband, a fabulous father to his kids and the best “Gramps” the grandkids could ask for. His wonderful ability to listen, his positive attitude and sense of humor will truly be missed.

We know you are with Mom now, and may you rest in peace. 

We will be celebrating Keith’s life on Friday, June 7, beginning at 1 p.m. at Presbyterian Church of the Siuslaw. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Emergency Cold Weather Shelter at 3996 Highway 101, Florence, Ore., 97439.

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