James Nelson

Buckley resident James A. Nelson, 81, died May 18, 2014.

He was born Feb. 5, 1933, in Longview, Wash., to George and Margaret Nelson. He was born with an eye disease causing deterioration of his peripheral vision. He learned all about ham radio, joined the Amateur Radio Club of Longview and worked for Cowlitz County Civil Defense relaying messages from the Pacific islands to the Northwest. A special two-year school, Radio Engineering Institute in Omaha, Nebraska, trained veterans who were returning from the battlefields of World War II, seeking employment. Due to his general electronics background, he was sent to REI in 1955. When he returned to Longview in 1957, he was hired at The Boeing Company. He married and enrolled at Highline College. By taking night classes, he graduated with an associate’s degree in June 1970. He then transferred to the University of Washington. He retired from Boeing after 20 years, but continued at the UW. On Aug. 19, 1983, he received a bachelor of science degree in mathematics and on Aug. 21, 1987, a master of science in electrical engineering from the UW. At the time of graduation he was told that he was the university’s first blind student to graduate with a master’s in electrical engineering. Jim and his wife enjoyed hiking and camping. He was a member of Kent Covenant Church and then Bethany Baptist Church in Puyallup.

He is survived by wife Ruth Nelson of Buckley; daughters Karen Reinbolt and husband Doug of Buckley and Terri Jordan and husband Mick of Auburn; and two grandchildren.

Services are by Weeks’ Funeral Home. All may sign the online guest book at www.weeksfuneralhomes.com.

A memorial service took place at 1 p.m. Tuesday, May 27, at Bethany Baptist Church in Puyallup.

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