Canden Ray Nelson age 86, of North Vernon and a former resident of Brown County, died Thursday, September 5, 2019, at Majestic Health Care of North Vernon.
Canden was born in Forreston, Illinois on April 10, 1933 to his parents, the late Arthur P. and Bernice R. (Weiler) Nelson. He married Catherine Spurlock on December 27, 1984, in Jennings County; she survives.
Canden was a graduate of Rockford East High School and attended the University of Wisconsin where he graduated with B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering. Following graduation from college, he served in the Army before beginning a career doing research and design of rocket motors for the U.S. space program in Southern California.
His next challenge was research at the Allis Chalmers Corporation on fuel cells for high altitude fighter aircraft in West Allis, Wisconsin.
Canden then went to work for the Cummins Engine Company in Columbus, Indiana. There he directed engineering research on the semi-truck engine development program. He also directed a team that developed smaller diesel engines that Dodge uses in their pickup trucks today.
After retirement, he and his wife, Katie, spent time restoring old photographs documenting the history of North Vernon and the surrounding area; some are on display in local museums and at the government building in North Vernon. Canden also enjoyed woodworking and auto repair in his spare time.
Surviving with his wife of 35 years, Catherine, are his children, Jerelyn (Jozsi) Stanley of Hungary, Scott (Nancy) Nelson of Brown County, Jamie (Lori) Nelson of Palm Desert, California, and Mark (Pam) Nelson of Nineveh; step-children, Larry (Priscilla) McIntire of Lexington and Kerri (Dave) Buckhout of Atlanta, Georgia; sister, Darlene (Warren) Nelson Demetrick of Lopez Island, Washington; grandchildren, Gwen Warford, Venessa (Robert Wilkerson) Warford, Abby (Michael) Warford Wray, Robert (Brittney) Nelson, Brandon Nelson, Kirsten Nelson, Kiriannah Nelson, Brandon Lipe, Brittany (Jesus) Jimenez, and Bruce Jacob Nelson; step-grandchildren, Andrew (Lauren) McIntire, Kailey West, and Zevin McIntire; great-grandchildren, Alice Austin, Isaac and Blake Fleetwood, Asher, Judah, Levi and Simeon Nelson, Landon, Kierra and Charlie Wang, Francis Nelson, Kika Klinginsmith, and Zaylee and Zayden Jimenez; step-great-granddaughter, Sophie McIntire; and cousin, Caroline, with whom he grew up and was like a sister to him.
Canden was preceded in death by his youngest son, Bruce Douglas Nelson, on November 4, 1989; his first wife, Shirley (Allen) MacNabb, on July 15, 2012; and brothers, Bergen and Lonay Nelson.
A memorial service will be held to honor his memory and celebrate his life at a future date. Dove-Sharp & Rudicel Funeral Home and Cremation Service in North Vernon was entrusted with arrangements.
Memorials may be made in honor of Canden to the Jennings County Historical Society.