Albert ‘Walt’ Nelson
Albert Walter “Walt” Nelson, 88, died July 31, 2006 at his home in Port Orchard, Wash.
Born July 31, 1918, in Corning, Calif., to Albert and Anna (Swanson) Nelson, he was raised in San Francisco, where he graduated from high school. He attended Santa Clara University.
Walt was a resident of South Lake Tahoe from 1959 to 1981. In his youth he worked as a guide at the Camp Richardson stables. He began his career working at his father’s construction company in San Francisco. He owned and operated the San Rafael airport until its closure, when he moved to Bijou in 1959. He opened a real estate office which he ran until he formed a group to start radio station KTHO. He was very active in advancing aviation and creating the airport in South Lake Tahoe where a plaque bears his name today. He opened the Sky Room coffee shop and bar in the original airport terminal building. Years later, in the current terminal, the restaurant became know as one of the best Chinese restaurants in the west. In 1981 he sold the Sky Room.
Walt built his first cabin in Sierra Tract in the 1940s. In 1950 he built a new cabin on Needle Peak Road that became the family home in 1959.
Walt was an Eagle Scout. He was very active in the community at Tahoe and was a 32nd degree Mason and a Shriner as well as a longtime member of the South Tahoe Elks Club and the Rod and Gun Club. His name appears on a plaque on a monument to pioneers on Kit Carson pass that he initiated while he was active in E Clampus Vitas. As chair of the Chamber of Commerce Aviation committee he was instrumental in bringing the first big air show to South Lake Tahoe that included the Navy’s Blue Angels. He was a candidate for city council and county supervisor in the early 1960s. In the early days he flew Stinson airplanes into the old Tahoe grass runway airport that was across the highway from the base of Kingsbury Grade.
Surviving are wife Kathryn (Carlson) and his children, five of whom graduated from South Tahoe High School, Carolyn Franklin (’60) of Palo Alto, Calif., Carl Nelson (’69) (Cyndi) of Olympia, Wash., Eric Nelson (’70) (Pat) of Tahoma, Calif., Jim Nelson (’71) (Julie) of Redding, Calif., and Diane Grant (’72) (Pat) of Lakebay, Wash., and Ron Nelson (Tina) of Novato, Calif.; and grandchildren, Julia Skay, Matthew Franklin, Ronald Nelson, Jr., Adam Nelson, Soren Nelson, and Paul Reinwand.
Funeral services will begin at 11 a.m. Aug. 5 at Rill’s Life Tribute Center in Port Orchard, Wash. In lieu of flowers the family suggests memorial donation to Hospice of Kitsap County, P.O. Box 3416, Silverdale, WA 98383.