Dr. Donald Nelson Sr. -Springfield- Dr. Donald Nelson Sr., 70, passed away on December 21, 2014. Don was born in Birmingham, Alabama on December 29, 1943. Don earned his B.S. in mechanical engineering from Auburn University in 1966 and M.S. in Mechanical engineering from Auburn in 1968. He worked as an engineer at the Savannah River plant in Aiken, S.C. for three years before deciding to go to Dental School. He graduated from the Medical College of Georgia School of Dentistry in 1974 and then went to work in public health for a year. He moved to Springfield, Ga with his wife Louise in 1976 and began his dental practice where he worked for 30 years. Don was dedicated to his patients and employees and put their needs above his own. He enjoyed truly getting to know his patients as individuals and would often sing to them while working for better or for worse. After retiring from his dental practice in Springfield, Don's love of dentistry and compassion for others sent him to Guatemala on three separate medical mission trips. He developed a special relationship with a group of orphans who knew him lovingly as "El Grande." He was a member of many Dental organizations including the Savannah Dental Society, Southeastern District Dental Society where he served as president in 1988, the Georgia Dental Association, and the American Dental Association. In 1993, he was named an Honorable Fellow of the Georgia Dental Association. He served on the Dental Hygiene advisory board at Armstrong University from 1985-1987. He was a member of the Medical/Dental staff of Effingham County hospital from 1975-1994. He was an assistant clinical professor in the department of Oral Rehab at MCG. Don also served in the Savannah Volunteer Dental Clinic for several years. Don was a faithful and dedicated member of Bethel Lutheran Church where he served on the church council for several terms as secretary and chairman. He also taught Sunday School for many years. He loved the members of Bethel. They were near and dear to his heart. He considered them extended family. He was a member and former president of the Springfield Lions Club. He was a member of the Rotary Club of Effingham County and then was a charter member of the Rotary Club of Effingham Sunrise where he served as president in 2000 and became a Paul Harris Fellow. Don was a member of the Board of Directors of the Truetlen House where he served as chairman for several years. The Truetlen House and the well being of the boys was important to him. He took an active role in the boys lives by sharing his time with them and loved helping to make their Christmas special. Don enjoyed many activities with family and friends. He loved to play golf and had three hole in ones which he often relived. He enjoyed cooking for people and according to him everything he made was "world famous." He often said if you leave hungry it was your own fault. He loved fishing and hunting and the camaraderie these activities allowed him to have with those he was close to. He was proud of once catching a large blue marlin. Don loved traveling. A voracious reader, Don usually had a history book nearby. Don also enjoyed talking politics and hearing other people's views as long as they weren't too different from his. His biggest love outside his family and friends was Auburn Football. His mood on autumn Saturdays was often determined by his beloved tigers' outcome. He was able to go the national championship game and cheer his tigers to victory in 2011. WAR EAGLE! Don was courageous, had a big heart, and loved his family and friends dearly. He was predeceased by his wife Louise Seckinger Nelson, his parents Bryce and Robbie Nelson, and his grandson Bryce Thomas Nelson. He is survived by sons Donald Bryce Nelson Jr. (Carrie) and Robert Dean Nelson(April), his grandchildren Parker, Natalie, Braydon, Blake, and Claire, his brother David Nelson, his sister Robbie Kimbrough, his loving faithful friend Jane Wall, numerous nieces, nephews, and special friends. Visitation will be held Tuesday, December 23rd at Riggs Funeral Home from 5 to 8 pm. The funeral will be held on December 24th at Bethel Lutheran Church in Springfield. His body will lie in state at 9:30 am and the service will begin at 10:30am. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Bethel Lutheran Church P.O. Box 1022 Springfield, GA 31329.
Wednesday, December 24, 2014 10:30 a.m.
Bethel Lutheran Church
Tuesday, December 23, 2014 5 - 8 p.m.
Riggs Funeral Home