William Desmond Nelson -- Born February 25, 1925 and died at home of cancer on April 2, 2011, at the age of 86. He lived a full and rewarding life.
Right after finishing high school, Bill served in the mechanics corps in the Philippines and Japan during World War II. As part of the Cornell Class of 1950, he studied mechanical engineering on the GI Bill. His working life was diverse. In the late 1960s he enjoyed running the day-to-day operations of Applied Logic of Princeton, NJ, a pioneer in the computer time-sharing field.
In 1973, Surfing: A Handbook, by William Nelson was published. It remains the definitive book on surfing that includes a technical chapter on how waves actually work to support a surfer.
In 1972, Bill moved to Cape May with his family; bought and repaired a hundred year old apartment house on Jackson Street. Later the Nelsons purchased one of the Seven Sister houses on Jackson Street and converted it into a profitable guesthouse that they ran for 16 years.
His next career move was to become a boat builder. He proceeded to build five skiffs and various rowing boats in his basement workshop. Nelson also built a twenty-five foot sailboat in Cape May/West Cape May. It was launched shortly after his 75th birthday and was the largest boat built in the Southern Cape May area for generations.
Bill loved being on the water, building boats, reading about boats, thinking about boats: he was a Pisces who was truly at home around water. He lived the life he wanted to live and loved living in Cape May.
Mr. Nelson served on the Lower Cape May Regional School Board for more than twenty-three years. His wide interest on every subject made him a valuable resource to staff, administration and students. Bill took great joy in helping people discover current events, trends, and research on all topics. His service to the school and community will be sorely missed.
His immediate family includes Meryl Simon Nelson, his wife of almost forty years and six children: Miles Nelson of North Wales, PA, Alexandra Anthony of Crumpton, MD, Charles Nelson of Raleigh, NC, Alan Nakashian-Holsberg of Westford, MA, Lisa Holsberg of Malden, MA, and Debby Nelson, of Palm Coast, FL, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
According to Bill, "I have had a good run during incredible times. I have seen so much." Bill Nelson was not a local but he was a fixture of the Cape May community. Family and friends will miss him greatly.
A memorial service will be held in the Lower Cape May Regional Theater lobby at 687 Route 9 on Monday, April 11, 2011, from 3 to 5:30 pm. Come celebrate a life well lived with coffee and dessert, conversation and music. In lieu of flowers please send donations to the Hope Cancer Center in Marmora, NJ.