Richard “Skip” Nelson


Richard “Skip” Nelson lost his battle with cancer on Dec. 18, 2013. No one can replace him. He was so gentle and so kind. Walt Whitman has a line, “He shamed silliness out of me.” Skip had a wonderful sense of humor and loved a good joke, but he cared too much about the world to be fooled by trivial distractions. He wouldn’t allow you to make fun of things that really mattered.
I knew Skip from kindergarten. He was my oldest friend. I remember my 5-year-old birthday party. We played pin the tail on the donkey and had cake, and I remember saying good-bye to him as he walked home. I lived on 42nd Street and 29th Avenue, and he lived on 44th and 29th Avenue. Only two blocks away, but I had never walked down 29th Avenue that far. I watched him go where I had never been. He had a slightly bow-legged walk that seemed to add seriousness and intent to the journey.
Now he’s walking ahead of me on another journey. We played golf together every morning at Hiawatha for 10 years. If there’s a heaven, he’s up there waiting for me on the 1st tee with Sheldie Kleve and Al Young. “That’s OK, guys, you tee off. I’ll catch you on the back nine.”
It will be lonely playing golf in the mornings without him, but, of course, I won’t be playing without him. He’ll be right at my side: smiling and pleased when I make a good shot, looking away embarrassed when I screw up. I am grateful for his friendship, and I’ll carry his memory with me every morning. It will be an extra club in my bag. One that doesn’t add weight, but lightens the load.
There will be a memorial service at 11 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 9, at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 4100 Lyndale Ave. S.

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