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Pete Nelson Joins the Light and Colors of the Sunset

There are some people, a rare few, whom when you meet them, you know you are in the presence of someone special. You feel warm. You feel welcomed. You feel like you have known this person all of your life and you want to keep them in your life for as long as possible. This was our Peter Nelson, aka, Peterkin, Neldog, Mr Fix-It-Up-Chappy and known to most people as simply Pete. Pete was a member and incredible volunteer of the River Park since 2003. If you enjoy our lovely photos of the River Park, our sunsets, our intimate portraits of daily life of all of the animals and birds that call this lovely place home, you were, in most cases, looking at Pete's work. If there was anything that happened at the River Park, challenges that left us scratching our heads as to what to do next, Pete was the first person we called, confident that if the problem could be solved Pete was the man to do it. His gifts were not just spent at the River Park, many folks in Lakeside benefited from his creativity, and his skills and talents. He might have built a deck for you, or fixed a door, or made a picture frame for you out of a sentimental piece of wood. Many of us have pieces of furniture made from that big ol' Bunya Bunya tree that needed to be removed from the lawn near the Lakeside Library because it was threatening to brain innocent community members by dropping football sized cones. (There is a story there as you might imagine.) Pete was an ardent birder, a member of Audubon's Silverwood Wildlife Sanctuary governing committee, and builder of all things needed there including their observation deck and nature center building. We benefited greatly from all of Pete’s talents and efforts but it was the photography students at El Capitan High School who benefited most of all. As we all know, adolescence is a tumultuous time. Kids and parents often end up at loggerheads, and in shouting matches. Mr Nelson, and his equally compassionate wife Sally, opened their hearts and home to these students, providing them a safe place to live if they needed it, or a place to crash on bad days, or just a listening ear. Over these many years, we stopped being surprised to meet a Lakesider who told how Mr Nelson, always the honorific of Mr Nelson, had helped them when they were in high school, saving them from drugs with gentle persuasion and often from homelessness. If there is one, there must be one hundred. We lost our beloved Pete, on May 3, at 10:55 AM, when his heart stopped. We tell you this very specifically because Pete didn’t stop. He just went on to his next adventure. We send our love to his equally amazing wife, Sally, to his children, Lea and Erik, his five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. So with this we wish you Godspeed Mr Petey.

We will meet again.


Jun 02, 2023

Pete was the best teacher and mentor I had in all my years of schooling. He treated everyone like young adults not kids. He was not only my teacher but he was my friend. I am positive I am not the only one of his students through all the years that feel the same.

Rest in Peace Pete. You will be missed by many.


Jun 02, 2023

God speed on your journey to the next chapter, I will always remember you.

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