OPHEIM — David Clinton Nelson was born on Feb. 24, 1947, in Glasgow. He was the youngest of four children born to Clinton and Elsa Nelson. He attended the North Bench School until second grade and went on to graduate from Opheim High School. Following high school, he attained an associate’s degree in agriculture at Northern Montana College in Havre. In 1967, David enlisted in the U.S. Army. He was in the military for two years, and served a tour in Vietnam as a radio mechanic.
David and his lifelong best friend, Jim Fossum, moved to Phoenix, Ariz., following college to explore. They found themselves broke and jobless soon after, until securing jobs for the winter. They moved home in the spring, where David began farming and ranching with his father and brother, Carl. David took care of the farming, and Carl managed the livestock. They had a great working relationship, and respected one another. David loved to dance, and was playfully called “Twister” in high school. He began dancing with Lynnette Walstad at local dances in the 1980s. In 1983, they were married at Holy Family Catholic Parish, in Glentana. Together they had three children, Loren, Luke and Leah. They made their home together on the Nelson Farm, north of Glentana, for 30 happy years.
David loved his family, and was very supportive and involved in his children’s activities. He built the kids an amazing basketball hoop, numerous bike ramps, rabbit hutches, and many other contraptions. He helped break wild 4-H steers and bottle-feed bum lambs, all for the love of his kids. He continued that love and support as they grew into adults and was very proud of them.
The Opheim and surrounding communities were very important to him. He was a loyal customer of all local businesses, opting to buy in Opheim or Glasgow whenever he could. He served as a first responder for the Opheim EMS, a member of Holy Family Parish in Glentana, was a member of the VFW, President of the Valley View Foundation Board, served on the Pro Co-op Board and was a member of the Montana Grain Growers. He sold Opheim rodeo tickets for close to 40 years with Jim Fossum, and enjoyed taking tickets at the Holy Family Parish Fall Dinner.
Farming was not a job for David. It was his livelihood, his passion. He wasn’t someone to cut corners, and it brought him much satisfaction to do a job right. He was incredibly proud to be passing on the family farm. He enjoyed driving the boat at Fort Peck, watching car auctions on TV, playing cards — especially poker, visiting, and being with family and friends. He was kind, generous, humble, and loved by many. No one stayed a stranger long around David. He was never in a hurry, and had time to visit with anyone.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Elsa and Clinton; his brother, Carl; cousins, Wayne Nelson, Justin Nelson and Wes Flickinger; nephews, Clint Nelson and Erik Walstad; and brother-in-law, Brad Johnson.
He is survived by the love of his life, Lynnette; his sisters, Doris (Hoyle) Moore, Kuna, of Idaho, and Gretchen (Bill) Westby, of Opheim; and sister-in-law, Karleen Kleeman (Roger); his sons, Loren, of Billings, Luke and his wife, Ashley, who live on the family farm; his daughter, Leah, of Bozeman; and numerous brothers and sisters in law, cousins, nephews and nieces.
Bell Morturary is in charge of arrangements. Services will be held Sunday, Aug. 11, at 3 p.m. in the Opheim High School gymnasium. Memorials may be sent to the Opheim Development Inc. at Box 82, Opheim, MT 59250, or a church of your choice.