Neal H. Nelson Jr., 72 of White Bear TWP, passed away at home, surrounded by his family on Friday, Sept. 1, 2023. He was preceded in death by his parents, Neal Sr. and Norma. He is survived by his wife, Sondra; sons, Nathan (Mary) and Ethan (Shandi); grandson Brayden; brother Richard (Nancy); many nephews; nieces, uncles; in-laws; and friends. Neal believed in the importance of family above all else. His wife and children were the center of his life. He cherished his friends, both old and new.
Neal was born on February 4, 1951. He grew up in south Minneapolis, and later in Brooklyn Center. He graduated from Augsburg College (B.A., political science, magna cum laude, with departmental honors) in 1973, and from William Mitchell College of Law (J.D.) in 1977. He practiced law for 36 years in the St. Paul area, including a 10 year partnership with his brother, Richard. He was a member of the Minnesota State & Ramsey County Bar Associations. He served on the Second Judicial District Ethics Committee, and performed pro bono service with Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services and the Hennepin County Legal Advice Clinic. He was the author of "A General Practitioner's Guide to Due on Sale Clause Litigation" (1982). He was admitted to the bars of the Supreme Court of the State of Minnesota, U.S. District Court, U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, Navy-Marine Court of Appeals, U.S. Court of Military Appeals, and U.S. Supreme Court. He was in the Navy Reserves for 22 years and retired as JAGC, CAPT, USN.
Neal's interests in life were wide-ranging. He trained in Shorin-Ryu style karate. He was a SCUBA diver, with many open water dives. He was an active runner, competing in numerous 5K and 10K races, including two triathlons. He was a long-standing member of the Bald Eagle Sportsman's Association. He enjoyed shooting skeet, trap, five-stand and sporting clays. He was active in local conservation organizations. He was an artist who did pencil sketch portraits of his family, and a writer, who authored a biography of his father. He dabbled in nature photography and gardening. He enjoyed reading, the theatre, movies, and live music. When his boys were young, they regularly raised and released bobwhite quail with the hope, never realized, of establishing a covey in a nearby wildlife area. He and his wife made sausage each year, an homage to his grandfather, who founded Flav-O-Rite Sausage Company. He carved his own decoys, and his work was featured in "Minnesota Duck Decoys, Yesterday and Today's Folk Artists," Volume 2 (2021), by Doug Lodermeier.
He loved the out of doors, from canoeing, backpacking, camping, climbing in the Tetons and white-water rafting the St. Louis river. He was both a downhill and cross-country skier. He enjoyed fishing. Wing shooting was his passion. He hunted pheasant, grouse, woodcock, and especially waterfowl, which took him to Alaska, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Maine, in addition to the five state area. He had an extensive collection of mounted upland game birds and waterfowl gathered from his hunting trips. He enjoyed good food and entertaining, and he and Sondra hosted an annual wild game dinner for friends featuring gourmet recipes.
And, he liked to travel. They did fly-in fishing in Northern Ontario, fished for redfish and sea trout off Galveston, Texas and the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and for salmon in Juneau, Alaska and Lake Michigan. They took the Alaska Ferry down the inside passage and traveled by car around Newfoundland. This past month he realized his dream vacation and fished for northerns, lake trout and grayling in the Northwest Territories of Canada.
A celebration of his life will be held on Friday, September 8, 2023 from 4 PM to 7 PM, at Mueller Memorial, 4738 Bald Eagle Ave, White Bear Lake, with military honors performed at 6:30 PM. A Memorial service will be held on Saturday, September 9, 2023 at 11:30 AM at King of Kings Lutheran Church, 1583 Radio Dr, Woodbury, with visitation from 10:30 AM until the time of the service.