Duane Gerry Nelson was born on the prairie in Killam, Alberta, Canada to Andrew and Anna Nelson. He was the ninth of 10 siblings. To his last day, he was delighted to have dual American Canadian citizenship and dear friends on both sides of the border. Migrating from the farm in Canada with family to Hoquiam, Washington at age 12, he plunged into becoming the best he could be.
Duane was a good Christian and a family man, a husband, a father, a grandfather, a brother, a nephew, an uncle, a good friend to many of all ages, a businessman and a car guy.
Looking for a purpose in life after high school where he always had a car he cherished and detailed to perfection, he decided to join the United States Army to serve his country for two years. He was stationed in Hawaii in the motor pool and found himself near his sister Sally’s family where Commander William E. Dean of the U.S.S. Brannon, her husband, was stationed with the Navy. His tour of duty took on a new dimension. It made great family memories.
Upon return to the mainland, he entered Grays Harbor Community College and about the same time through a good friend was recruited to try a management training opportunity with the F.W. Woolworth retail organization in San Francisco. It was here that he developed his appreciation for piano jazz. Duane managed several Woolworth stores over 25 years with many moves including opening a new store in San Carlos, California when he met his wife, Lana now of 58 years. They moved seven times in 10 years (each a promotion).
They decided when transferred to Portland, Oregon to manage the store in the new progressive Lloyd Center that they wanted to stay and live in the great Northwest. Sons Darin and Dustin were to start school and a good school district was important. Duane refused another transfer. Opportunity shined and he applied to Ross Dress for Less, a newly established retail organization in Beaverton, founded by former Woolworth associates. He spent 11 years selling good bargains in fashion.
While still working in retail he established Northwest Beemers, his passion. He loved being on the hunt for nice cars for nice people. Most were BMWs but he could ferret out the best value for his customers by a style and name. He loved the auto auctions. He developed a fraternity of buyers, sellers and top-quality car maintenance experts.
Duane was an extremely hard worker with a mainstream need for perfection and a kind, caring and loving soul. He took care of many and gave generously. He found great joy in sharing life with his son Darin Nelson and wife Cammy, his grandchildren Madeleine and Spencer Nelson and Ally Eskelin, son Dustin Nelson and wife Heidi, John and Maddie Goetze, Tyler Bradshaw and family, and the extended Nelson family.
A celebration of life will be held Jan. 7, 2023, his 88th birthday, at 1:15 p.m. at Finley’s Sunset-Hills Mortuary & Memorial Park, 6801 SW Sunset Highway, Portland, Oregon 97225. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Hoquiam, Washington Polson Museum. www,polsonmuseum.org