Paul Nelson

Paul Erland Nelson

August 29, 1939 - May 30, 2019
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Paul Erland Nelson, 79, of Boston, formerly a longtime resident of Chelmsford, passed away peacefully at Parlin Hospice in Wayland on Thursday, May 30, 2019, after a long illness, surrounded by his loving family. He was the beloved husband of Mary-Verdella (Wagner) Nelson with whom he would have celebrated 56 years of marriage on June 22, 2019.

He was born in Montclair, New Jersey on August 29, 1939, and was a son of the late Erland M. and Mildred (Anderson) Nelson.

He is a graduate of Lafayette College (B.S.) and Drexel University (M.S.) and a lifetime member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. His career as an electrical engineer with Digital Equipment Corporation in computer design and management led him around the world working with international companies.

He served as chairman of Central Congregational Church before moving to Boston where, as chairman of the Board of Trustees, he selflessly managed his condominium association through major reconstruction projects and served on civic committees in his North End neighborhood. With a group of church friends, he helped to build a Christian orphanage in Haiti, through the organization, Hope for the Children of Haiti.

Forever an outdoorsman, he was an Eagle Scout and earned the God and Country Award. He lived for hiking, skiing, jogging, boating, wood chopping, wood working, organ concerts, outdoor time with his grandsons, and grasshopper pies. In retirement he enjoyed traveling for pleasure from the Orkney Islands in Scotland to Antarctica, but his favorite place was always a getaway cabin on Lake Rangeley in Maine where family gathered for 56 summer seasons. He will be remembered as a true gentleman, devoted to his family and friends, but also for his love of puns, New Age music, and fixing whatever needed fixing. He valiantly battled his disease with courageous tenacity and a stubborn desire to continue doing as always before.

In addition to his loving wife, Paul leaves his children, David Nelson of Lowell, MA and Christine Nelson and her husband, Brian O’Neill, of Hudson, MA; his brother, Philip Nelson, of Haddonfield, NJ and sister, Ruth Rizzi, and her partner, Kim-Eric Williams, of Exton, PA; and his grandsons, Adam, Sean, and Ivan O’Neill of Hudson, MA.

Visiting hours will be held on Thursday from 5:00 - 8:00 in the Blake Chelmsford Funeral Home, 24 Worthen St., Chelmsford.. His funeral service will be held on Friday at 1:30 pm at the Central Congregational Church, One Worthen St., Chelmsford. KINDLY MEET AT THE CHURCH. Interment will be held privately. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Paul's name to the American Parkinson Disease Association, 72 East Concord St., C3, Boston, MA 02118 or
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    June 6, 2019 | 5:00pm - 8:00pm
    June 6, 2019 5:00pm - 8:00pm
    Blake Chelmsford Funeral Home
    24 Worthen Street
    Chelmsford, MA 01824
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Funeral Service

    June 7, 2019 | 1:30pm
    June 7, 2019 1:30pm
    Central Congregational Church of Chelmsford
    One Worthen Street
    CHELMSFORD, MA 01824
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Private Condolence

Ross Daisomont

Posted at 05:34pm
It is the celebration of a life lived to its fullest. Paul was and is an asset to the world , he made it a better place. Something we all should strive for.
Ross Daisomont

Robin (Salwa) Sasek

Posted at 07:27am
Paul will always be my second Dad and the Nelson's Sleigh Road home was a haven for me from H.S. years and beyond. He was a wonderful provider and dedicated patriarch. Steadfast. Upstanding. Christine's demeanor is so akin to his. She is a blessing and he lives on through her.
The Nelson's introduced us to my favorite place in the world - Martha's Vineyard - where our families (and many friends) vacation together every October. Once on island, sweet-tooth Paul would go for his annual trek to Murdick's and come back with a full pound of fudge for each of the grandchildren (this includes my two, Olivia and Vaughn and any other friend who might be tagging along with Adam, Sean or Ivan).
There are numerous memories to reflect on and we will do that together, making even more with Mema (xoxo), Christine (Kiki), Brian (Bubba), Adam (#1), Sean (shawny-shoefly) and Ivan (Little), the dearest of friends.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

Sandra Robinson

Posted at 10:45am
So happy we got to spend some time with Paul at our family reunion only a few years ago. He was an exceptional man and was loved by his family. Wishing you much comfort.

Kevin O'Neill and Family

Posted at 10:44pm
Paul was an exceptional man, husband, father, grandparent, son and engineer. With all that he had to experience in this life on earth, he was always such a positive and level headed voice for us to cherish. He was on many a team that built all kinds of engineered systems. I suspect his greatest pride was that of his grandchildren and what they all have accomplished. Know our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Heather Landheim

Posted at 12:47pm
Paul will always be remembered for his smile and kind ways. Years ago, I was enlisted to chair the annual fair at CCC. I was befuddled with all the input from folks and told Paul so. He said, “Heather, listen, take notes and do to suit yourself!” His comment put things in their proper perspective. All the years raising our families, Paul and Mary Verdella were such wonderful friends and a source of support. After returning to New England a few years ago, I learned of Paul’s illness. Mary Verdella kept in close touch with her friends during all those months, sending us updates on how Paul was doing. It has been a long road for her and Christine and David and Christine’s family. Paul was so blessed to have them and experience their devotion, love and gentle caring. May he rest in peace. He will be missed.

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