Gordon Thomas Nelson passed away peacefully on July 12, 2011 in Colville. He was 80-years- old. Gordon was born on April 27, 1931, the son of John G. and Bentena Uglem Nelson. He was born at the family farm near Lake Preston, South Dakota. Gordon was the grandson of Norwegian immigrants who homesteaded in South Dakota. He attended Whitewood Township District No. 7 elementary school, a one-room school-house. Gordon graduated from Lake Preston High School in 1949. He then enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1952 and was accepted into the Air Force Cadet program, earning the rank of Second Lieutenant and serving as a navigator. He completed his tour of duty in 1957 and returned to South Dakota to enroll at Augus¬tana College in Sioux Falls. It was there that Gordon met his future wife, Joan Marlene Wilson. Gordon completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering at California State University-Long Beach. He and Joan were married on Dec. 19, 1959 in St. Timothy Lu¬theran Church in Lakewood, CA. Gordon continued to serve in the Air National Guard and Reserves, completing 20 years of service and earning the rank of Major. Their daughter, Kari J. Nelson, was born in 1965 and their son, Mark W. Nelson, was born in 1966. Gordon was employed in industry in Southern California for a number of years. In 1979, the family moved to Colville, where they purchased the Coast to Coast Hardware Store on Main Street. The following year, the business was moved to the Southtown Plaza, where it exists today under the name Colville Hardware Do It Center and is owned by their daughter and her husband, Kari and Bruce Hubbard. Gordon and Joan’s son, Mark Nelson, is a Colonel in the United States Marine Corps. Mark is an instructor at the Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.Gordon enjoyed camping, boating and traveling. He was a man who led by example and exemplified integrity. His honest nature, analytical mind, deliberate character and courageous approach to all facets of life made him an extraordinary role model to those around him.Gordon has been a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Colville since 1979, a Rotarian since 1975 and a member of the Air Force Association since 1972.He is survived by his wife of 51-years, Joan W. Nelson, Colville; daughter, Kari Hubbard and her husband, Bruce, Colville; son, Mark Nelson and his wife, Roneih, Prattville, Alabama; grandchildren, Haley and Matthew Hubbard, Jordan, Hayden and Hannah Nelson; sister Bethel Thompson and her husband, Don, Cary, North Carolina; brother, Wendell Nelson and his wife, Helen, Lake Preston, South Dakota; Herb Nelson, Lake Elma, Minnesota; nieces and nephews.A memorial service was held July 19 at the St. Paul Lutheran Church in Colville. A family graveside and military honors preceded the service at the Mountain View Park Cemetery in Colville. Pastor Eric Ohrtman officiated the services. Memorial contributions may be given to either the St. Paul Lutheran Church Building Fund or to the the Dollars for Scholars program in Colville. Please visit the on-line memorial and sign the guestbook at www.danekasfuneralchapel.com. Danekas Funeral Chapel and Crematory is entrusted with the arrangements.