1938 – 2014
Thomspon – Robert Gunnar Nelson, 76, passed peacefully on Friday, March 14, 2014 surrounded by his loving family. He courageously fought his battle with cancer, determined to give his best until his last breath. Robert was born in Willimantic, CT on March 3, 1938, the son of the late Gunnar G. and Mary (Zwierecki) Nelson.
His unique personality and sense of humor kept everyone guessing. As a teen he worked in the thread mills in Willimantic, saving for his college education. He served in the Army National Guard during the Korean Conflict. His career in mechanical engineering began at Torrington Manufacturing, moving on to Millers Falls Tool in Greenfield, MA as a design engineer in 1974. In 1979 he took the position of Engineering Manager at Superwinch in Putnam, CT. In 1998 he started his own consulting business as Nelson Associates and joined Bio Sensory in Putnam which he enjoyed immensely up until the summer of 2013.
He leaves his wife Antoinette “Toni” Nelson of 48 years; his children, Teresa (Nelson) Rheaume and her husband Kevin of Kennebunk, ME and Robert “Rob”, Jr. and his wife Lori of Milford, NH; his grandchildren, Monica, Madeline and Anthony Rheaume; his sister, Wanda (Nelson) Wright of Willimantic and several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his sister, Mary Ellen Rayhall and his grandson, Louis Nelson Rheaume.
He was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed flying, shooting, hunting and fishing. He loved his garden and canning the fruits of his labor, especially his beans and blueberries. He also enjoyed time with his grandchildren, giving them rides on the tractor and swimming in the pool.
He will be forever missed by all his family, dearest friends, hunting buddies and the Sisters of Saint Martha whom he considered also as his children.
Relatives and friends are invited to visit with Robert’s family from 5:00 to 8:00 pm on Friday, March 21, 2014 in the Valade Funeral Home, 20 Main St., N. Grosvenordale, CT. A gathering will begin in the funeral home at 10:00 am on Saturday, March 22, 2014 followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 am in St. Joseph Church, 18 Main St., N. Grosvenordale, CT. Burial will follow in St. Joseph Cemetery. In lieu of flowers donations, may be made to St. Joseph Food Pantry and/or St. Joseph Church, 18 Main St. N. Grosvenordale, CT 06255. For memorial guestbook visit www.GilmanAndValade.com.