A native of Boise and later a graduate of Burley High School. Started an illustrious career as a freshman at Idaho in 1922, with frosh awards in football, track and basketball. He also earned nine letters in these sports during his career at Idaho.
Played on four Idaho football teams which never lost to Washington State from '22 through '25; with a highlight of scoring the winning touchdown in the 1925 game. Was graduated from Idaho in 1926 and then joined coaching ranks with a high school job at Lewis and Clark H.S. in Spokane, coaching from 1926-30. Furthered his coaching career with positions at Davenport, Wash., and returned home to coach at Burley H.S, In 1935 Nelson went with the U.S. Forest Service until the war years.
Served until 1945 in WWII, receiving the rank of Lt. Col. Added another Degree of Forestry from Montana in 1947 and continued his work with forest service until he became assistant to Senator Herman Welker of Idaho, in Washington, D.C. ln 1955 he became area administrator for the Bureau of Land Management in Salt Lake City, Utah.
He was then promoted to head the BLM in Sacramento, Calif. Later he moved on to Washington with the Forestry section of the Land Law Review Commission. Nelson retired from government service in 1967 and returned to Idaho. His wife is the former Katherine Pence of Payette, and they have two children, Craig and Marcia.