Sanford E. “Swede” Nelson, formerly of Ridgefield, died on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012 at his home in Redding. Mr. Nelson, 94, was the husband of Joyce G. Nelson, whom he married in Singapore in 1947.
He was born in Montevideo, Minn. on Oct. 3, 1918, the son of the late Severin and Winifred Nelson. He attended local Montevideo schools and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1941 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. After graduation, he joined Standard Oil of New Jersey and was sent to Asia to oversee airport refueling and manage local oil refineries. Shortly after his arrival in Singapore, he managed to escape from the country, just before the Japanese occupation. His work took him to many countries in Southeast Asia, as well as to Australia, Africa, and India.
After the war Mr. Nelson continued his job with Esso. He and his wife also lived in Thailand, East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), and Japan. They moved to Ridgefield in the late 1950s with their four daughters.
Mr. Nelson was an active parishioner of Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church. After his early retirement, he served as a warden, and on several committees. An avid follower of high school and college basketball, he was often in the bleachers for games when his daughters attended Ridgefield High School. He was a keen poker player.
Besides his wife, Mr. Nelson is survived by his daughters, Anne Pate, Margaret Vogt, Patricia Hilton-Johnson and Kathryn Scourby, and five grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, three nieces and two nephews. He was predeceased by his brother Myron E. Nelson.
A memorial service will take place on Saturday, Dec. 1, at 3 p.m. at Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church. The family will receive friends at South Hall after the service.
Memorial contributions may be made in his name to the Raise the Roof Capital Campaign, Saint Stephen’s Church, 351 Main Street, Ridgefield, CT 06877, or to the charity of one’s choice.
—by the staff