Cover photo for Howard R. Nelson's Obituary
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1931 Howard 2019

Howard R. Nelson

January 11, 1931 — February 24, 2019

On February 24th, Howard Ray Nelson passed away peacefully in Longview, surrounded by his family. He was born January 11, 1931 to Eva Irene and Richard Nelson in GoldenTownship, Nebraska. He attended school there until the family moved to Roseburg, Oregon. At 6 years of age, Howard began carrying oil cans for his father who was cutting old growth timber.  At 16, he then worked as a scaler. Howard continued working in the industry all of his life, first as a timber faller, then a truck driver for Crown Zellerbach. He often talked of the loads of huge trees he remembered hauling in the early years. When Crown closed, he retired, then went back to work for DeBriae Logging where he retired again at age 63 in 1994. For several more years, he drove for his son-in-law Bob, at Torppa Construction, finally retiring just a few years ago. He had no accidents in all his driving years, a record he was quite proud of. The only time he wasn’t working in logging, was when he proudly served four years in the US Navy.

Howard, known also as HR, Howie, Grumpy, Papa, G-Pop, dog lover, Supervisor and Hammer Down, loved his family first and foremost. On December 11, 1965, he married Arlene Callahan and became a beloved father to her four children adding them to his own three children. They moved to Deep River in 1966.

Howard was known as a man of the outdoors. He not only worked in timber he enjoyed hunting elk and deer. He was a member of the North American Hunting Club, the CB Club, Grays River Fire Dept., and the American Legion. He loved square dancing, photography, card games, fishing, “Farmville,” and loved to go to Torppa Construction’s shop where he was quick to lend a hand. He was a fine mechanic, with a strong respect for tools and problem-solving. He loved history and enjoyed telling stories of his early years in logging. His heart was huge and he helped all and any who asked. He was one of a kind and will be deeply missed.

Howard was preceded in death by a brother, Dewayne Nelson and a grandson, James Kimball.

Survivors include his wife Arlene, seven children:  Howard Edward (Eddie) (Merlene) Nelson of Florida, Kitty Eike (Doug) of Hoquiam, Sandy (Jeff) Kimball of Cosmopolis, Max (Mary) Smith of Vancouver, Angelee (Robert) Torppa of Grays River, Roxy (Steve) Forbes of Bellingham and Karl (Shana) Smith of Rosburg; a brother, James Nelson of Portland, sisters Donna Schwager of Nebraska and Ruth Rickman of Alaska.

Howard loved all his children and cherished his 23 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren, and 3 great-great-grandchildren, plus numerous nieces and nephews.

A graveside service will be held at 11:30 am on Saturday, March 9th at Peaceful Hill Cemetery in Naselle, with a procession following to Valley Bible Church in Rosburg where a memorial service will be held at 1:00 pm with a reception following at the church.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Appelo Archives Center at 1056 SR 4, Naselle, WA 98638.

His guestbook is available at

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