02/10/1928 – 08/05/2014
AMERICAN FALLS – Alma “Beechnut” Nelson, 86, passed away peacefully Tuesday morning, Aug. 5, 2014, surrounded by his loving family. He was born Feb. 10, 1928, in Clifton, ID, to Ray and Clara Nelson, the oldest of three boys. He lived in Clifton until the age of 10 when his family moved to Preston, ID, where he was raised.
In January 1946 he enlisted in the US Navy. He married the love of his life Betty Jean Wentworth on Nov. 17, 1946 in San Francisco, CA, where he was stationed. After his discharge from the US Navy, they made their first home in Clifton. They lived there for three years where he did odd jobs, skinning muskrats, welding and building grain elevators throughout eastern Idaho. In 1949 he moved his family to Pocatello, ID. He started work at Westvaco, later named FMC, as a millwright and then managed the tool shop for 40 years. That is where he acquired the nickname “Beechnut” due to him chewing Beechnut tobacco. Everyone knew him as Beechnut, few people knew him as Alma. During his working career he always worked at least two jobs at a time. While working at FMC he also worked nights and weekends for seven years as the relief police officer and dog catcher for the City of American Falls. He was a skin-diver from 1960-1962 with Under Water Recovery and Research Qualified Divers Nelson and Olsen. He then started his own refrigeration and air-conditioning business known as Commercial Fleet Services that he ran as a side job for 52 years. After retiring from FMC and the air-conditioning business he went to work for Power County Waterways until his final retirement at the age of 83 and remained as an honorary board member.
He was a member of the American Falls Lions Club, American Falls VFW and served as State Commander from 1982-1983. He was actively involved with the American Legion Roland Evans Post #3 and received recognition for 40 years of continuous service and support.
His greatest enjoyment in life was going to Island Park every fall elk hunting with his lovely wife, family and friends. He and Betty loved being in the outdoors. He was an avid hunter, fisherman and snowmobiler. He loved taking his family and friends camping where he instilled knowledge and respect of the great outdoors in his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Beechnut was preceded in death by his wife of 67 years, Betty J. (Wentworth), parents, one brother, Gerry Nelson and all his aunts and uncles. He is survived by his children Kathy (Jim) Tallman, Liberty, KS; Mike (Sherry) Nelson, Yakima, WA; LeAnn (Ron) Anderson and Bob (Janelle) Nelson of American Falls; grandchildren Shannon (Tom) McDow, Sean (Jamie) Torrance, Jamie (Jessica) Tallman, Matt (Jessica) Tallman, Kris (Brent) Heglar, Tina Nelson, twins Tiffany (Drew) Winkler and Jeffery (Liz) Nelson, Ronalie (Nate) Gerrie, Ryan (Sarah) Anderson, Tara Rowe, Christopher (Destiny) Nelson, Nick Nelson; 17 great-grandchildren; brother, Grant (Lila) Nelson, Soda Springs, and many wonderful nieces and nephews.
The graveside service was at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 9, at the Falls View Cemetery, American Falls. There was a visitation from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8, and from 10 to 10:45 a.m. on Saturday before graveside at Davis-Rose Mortuary, 170 Idaho St., American Falls. Condolences and memories may be shared at davisrosemortuary.com, 208-226-2147.