Wednesday, June 07, 2023

Frank "Shorty" Nelson

| September 15, 2006 12:00 AM

Frank A. "Shorty" Nelson, 86, a native son of Montana and longtime resident of Libby, died Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2006, at Libby.

He was born in Helena to Frank Alge Nelson and Carolyn Korizek Nelson on June 21, 1920, and was raised and educated there, graduating from Helena High School with the Class of 1938.

He attended the University of Montana, graduating from the School of Forestry in 1943. In August 1943, he entered the armed forces, serving with the United States Army as a weapons instructor during World War II until being honorably discharged at the rank of staff sergeant in 1946.

During his college years, he had been employed by the U.S. Forest Service and again worked in forestry following his discharge, working in timber clearing during the Hungry Horse Dam construction project. He came to Libby in 1947 where he began his career in professional forestry with the J. Neils Lumber Co., starting in the Warland, Dunn Creek and Rexford camps. He then worked for the St. Regis Paper Co. and continued to serve in this capacity for the next 36 years; he retired from Champion International in 1984.

He married longtime Libby resident Jenny Rolseth on Oct. 10, 1948, the opening day of duck hunting season, a fact that he never let his wife forget. They were blessed with four children. In 1998, they celebrated their golden wedding anniversary.

Always very civic-minded, Shorty served as a councilman for 18 years for the city of Libby; he also had been involved with the formation of David Thompson Search and Rescue and had been a volunteer worker with Libby Nordicfest. He had been a longtime member and past-president of the Libby Lions Club and 67-year member of the Elks. In later years, he was active with the Libby Senior Citizens Center and was named Senior Citizen of the Year in 1993.

He was named a Fellow of the Society of American Foresters in 1988 and had been a 50-year member of the society. He was also honored by the local chapter as Forester of the Year in recognition of his years of dedication to professional forestry. He received a Distinguished Alumnus award from the University of Montana in 1991.

His 6-foot-7-inch frame, twinkling blue eyes and big smile were a very familiar sight around town as well as his big, blue Schwinn bicycle.

He is survived by his wife Jenny, at the family home in Libby; his children, Joel Nelson and wife Linda of Coos Bay, Ore., Mary Beth Nelson and husband Steve Paustian of Sitka, Alaska, and Jennifer Nelson and husband Ron Cummings of Libby; and eight grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his daughter Carol Bryn Nelson in 2004. He was deeply loved by his family and respected in the community. He lived life well.

Services will be held at 1 p.m. Monday, Sept. 18, at the Nelson & Vial Funeral Home Chapel. Friends may call at the Nelson & Vial Funeral Home from 1 to 8 p.m. on Sunday.

Memorials may be made to the Frank "Shorty" Nelson Forestry Scholarship c/o the U of M Foundation, 315 Brantly Hall, Missoula, MT 59812 or to St. John's Lutheran Hospital Foundation, 350 Louisiana Ave., Libby, MT 59923.