Walter Reid Nelson of Rye, N.Y., Frankfort, Mich., and Vero Beach, Fla., died peacefully at the age of 90 on October 15, 2023. He was the beloved husband of Peggy Nelson for 67 years.
Born on November 25, 1932, he was the son of Walter and Carolyn Nelson. Wally, as he was known, attended Belmont, Mich. public schools, and was the first in his family to attend college.
After graduating from Colgate University in 1954, he joined the U.S. Air Force. As a pilot and captain under the call sign “Captain Midnight”, he met Peggy Headley at the University of Wisconsin on a blind date. They were married in 1956 in River Forest, Ill.
He began his business career in sales with Procter and Gamble in upstate New York. He then spent 20 years on Wall Street, serving as partner at the firms Eastman Dillon, Lombard, Nelson & McKenna, and Wertheim & Co. In 1977, he founded Nelson Publications, a provider of financial and investment information and data. Among his 10,000 worldwide clients was Bloomberg. Nelson Publications was acquired by the private equity firm KKR in 1997.
Among his philanthropic endeavors was serving as an advisor to the Chicago-based St. Martin dePorres House of Hope (now Southside Center of Hope) for 20 years. He was a board member of Crystal Downs Country Club and Apawamis Club and an active member of Manursing Island Club and Riomar Country Club.
A devoted husband and supportive father, Wally Nelson valued respect, confidence, perseverance, honesty, and sportsmanship. He was an avid golfer with four hole-in-ones to his credit, and an active member of the United States Seniors Golf Association for 25 years. His loyalty, love of music and sports, strong work ethic, wit, and intelligence will be long remembered by his family and many friends.
In addition to his wife Peggy, Mr. Nelson is survived by his beloved children: Dean (Maureen) Nelson, Betsy (Rick) Shepherd, Wendy (Paul) Nagle, and Tiffany (Jeffrey) Begoon; and cherished grandchildren: Christopher, Charlie and Colin Nelson, Margaret and Mack Shepherd, Brendan, Charles, and Katherine Nagle, and Bridget (Thomas) Stephan, and Ryan, Maxwell, and Casey Begoon.
A memorial service and celebration of Wally Nelson’s life will be held in August 2024 at Crystal Downs Country Club in Frankfort, Mich., a place where generations of the family have gathered every summer.