Richard (“Dick”) Allen Nelson, born November 26, 1936 to Sylvester and Edna (Rich) Nelson, passed away peacefully on July 17, 2019. He is survived by his four children Marcia Jackson, Judith Miller, Paul Nelson and Joanna Nofsinger, and 11 grandchildren. Dick is joined in the next life by his parents, Edna Rich and Sylvester Nelson, wife Randy Eileen (Eatough) Nelson, his twin brother Robert, older sister Patricia Malmgren and younger brother, Paul.
Richard grew up in California’s San Fernando Valley, where he attended Van Nuys High School. He graduated from Occidental College in 1959 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. He was a certified Safety Engineer and worked in the insurance and legal fields for many years before earning his teaching credential in bilingual elementary education in 1999. Dick taught in the Los Angeles Unified School District for approximately 10 years, teaching first grade, third grade and Kindergarten at Ranchito Elementary School in Panorama City, California. He considered teaching his life’s calling and truly treasured his students and teaching colleagues.
After serving a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Argentina, he and his wife Randy met at BYU in Provo, Utah. The couple was married in the Salt Lake City LDS temple in 1964, sealed by Gordon B. Hinckley. They lived and raised their children in Tarzana, California, opening their home to four foster daughters and several members of their extended family. The Nelsons provided countless hours of service to their church and community. Richard served as a Bishop in the Encino Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and held many other church callings at local and regional levels, all of which he pursued with passion and a love for others.
Dick was known for his ability to inspire and uplift others, his gift of teaching, and his sense of humor. Able to play the piano by ear, he often volunteered to play for church meetings, once improvising a hymn-like version of the Mickey Mouse Club theme song as prelude music before a church service. His other passions included reading and cooking. Years after his first job washing dishes at a Chinese restaurant, he studied the art of Chinese cooking from Madame Wong at UCLA. He later taught cooking classes out of his home, often enlisting his children as special assistants, who were always happy to volunteer.
Dick will be interned with his wife Randy in the American Fork, Utah cemetery. A visitation is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 20, 2019 with a funeral service at 2:00 p.m. at Anderson and Son’s Lone Peak Chapel, located at at 6141 West 11000 North, Highland, Utah. A Memorial Service and Celebration will be held on Saturday, July 27, 2019, beginning at 4:30 p.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, located at 5338 White Oak Avenue, Encino, CA. A reunion of the Encino Ward is scheduled immediately thereafter, beginning at 6:00 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the Nelson family invites you to make a donation of time, talent or financial support in Dick’s honor to Ranchito Elementary School, 7940 Ranchito Avenue, Panorama City, CA 91402, or the elementary education program of your choice.