Thursday, June 30, 2016

George Nelson 1944 -

George's father was born in 1918 in Coin, Page, Iowa and died June 1985 in Newport Beach, California. He and his second wife owned a large dry clean establishment.

George's mother learned religion from her mother and her mother's father was a Methodist minister.  She was a "dry Mormon."  She read the scriptures, went to church and believed.  George followed his mother. 

Before WWII George's mother Ellen Jo met his father George Nelson in Topeka, Kansas.  She lived in the area and he was traveling with his own band in which he played the trumpet.  He was the band leader.  They fell in love and married in Topeka.

When Pearl Harbor happened, George's mother's 3 brothers enlisted into the army. His father was enlisted into the Navy where he was made a Naval Pharmacist Mate.  His father's  younger brother enlisted into the army. They were all close and best friends.

George Sr. spent time on board ships where he saw lots of tragic wounded military personnel.  Ellen Jo said the war changed her husband.  After the war he took to drink and playing around.  In 1944 the family lived on the base at Coronado, Island near San Diego where George was born.  They lived for a time in Norwalk, CA.  In 1950 when George was six years old his father left the family.  They got divorced and George Sr got remarried Tilly within months.   He met her at a dry cleaners in Newport.

Ellen Jo married again in 1950 to an aeronautical engineer named Doug Miller.  George's mom welcomed people to the community as a job and had a radio show for an hour each week which promoted businesses in Palmdale and Lancaster.  They lived Palmdale from 1950 to 1957 and then moved to Glendale where her husband could get better work.

Unfortunately the marriage dissolved leaving George and his mother to fend for themselves.  They ended up living above Haugen's Pharmacy in a one bedroom at the corner of Pacific and Stocker, one block from the West Ward building and across the street from 31 Flavors. A bright pink sign flashed Drugs with an arrow flashed into the room making a crackling sound, In spite of the noise and pink flashing tubing 6' 2" George tried to stretch out diagonally and slept on the couch. George got a job washing the windows of the ice cream parlor each day before school.  His mother didn't have much money which required George to work part time.

During High School Gordon Christensen became friends with George often inviting him to his house on Cumberland Drive to play basketball and hang out.  The two played with Steve Leeper and other ward members.  Eventually he took the missionary lessons from Wendell Noble.

His mom said we had you baptized as a baby but if you feel that strongly I want you to follow your own feelings. Wendell Noble taught him the lessons and George really felt he needed to get baptized. George used to go into Forrest Lawn to see the Crucifixion narrated by Wendell.  He loved hearing his voice. The missionaries, zone leader, came up to me in my little apt above the drug store.  He said You know George none of us know how long we will live, it would be such a terrible shame if you got the witness of the Holy Ghost and something happened to you and you didn't act on it.  I got goose bumps.  George, "When is the next baptismal meeting."  do you want someone special to baptize you.  I picked Steve.  But I was also close to Gordon Christensen. and said the Joseph Smith Story it sound true from the first moment he heard it.  He was baptized by Steve Leeper on December 12, 1962.

At the time the boys in the West Ward were playing church basketball and George was eagerly invited to join the team.  His height made a real difference to their play and eventually they played in the all church finals.  Phil Cameron, another new member of the church, played on the team.  California Senator John Harmer invited George to his home early each morning to learn scriptures and the missionary lessons. He has all six lessons learned before his call, unfortunately he was called to a Spanish speaking mission so he had to learn them all over again.  He learned 200 verses.  John had helped to formulate the discussions during his own mission.

In October 1964 George was called to the Central American Mission with headquarters in Guatemala City.  He and Phil served 4 months together.  The Spanish language was difficult for George but for Phil it came easily.  Being handsome and confident Phil was very popular with the Spanish girls.  After his mission Phil married and divorce two Spanish women.  He baptized 94 people in the first year.  The second year he was challenged by H Theodore Tuttle in the rich program to find those with college degrees.  He baptized six in the second year including President Enrique Rittscher family a German family born and raised in Guatemala. He graduated from Cornell with honors in hospitality.  It made a big difference to see a wealthy person who owned two hotel's in Guatemala City join the church.   George had followed the Tuttle program.   The area had 8 foot walls and you had to push a button on the intercom and the maid would come and ask what you wanted.  We simply said we were two north Americans who had a message for the head of the household.  Bro Rittscher told the maid to invite us in.  She came to the front gate and invited us in.  We started talking in Spanish.  My jr companion was new.  He said if you would like we can converse in English.  I thought, that is great that is my biggest challenge.  We want to tell you about Joseph Smith seeing the father and the son.  he was interested.  When can i teach you the second one.  I have to leave here in a week, I have to work a program starting in Panama.  If you want to teach me a lesson each day you can.  We did and at the end of the week we challenged him to baptism and he accepted.  He had a second home at Lake Atitlan with a volcano.  It was mirrored in the lake.  He had a resort home with a stone patio with steps that went down into the lake.  I let my Jr. companion baptize him.  I wanted to be voice in confirming him.  It was a beautiful experience.

George's father eventually owned a upscale dry cleaners in Newport.  A lot of people with money had their clothes cleaned there.  After George's mission his father invited him to come fishing at the Salton Sea.  George drove down, met his father. Having recently returned from his mission he was surprised when his father took him to a bar to meet his father's friends.  Unfortunately George didn't have much in common with his new found father.
Hi Kent,
Now that's a funny story that even I didn't know, but it doesn't surprise me. Here is what I recall after nearly half-a-century. I had been dating this sorority type girl at BYU that I foolishly believed was committed to me (little did I know). I cooked-up this creative way to ask her to marry me by dressing-up in an Arthurian knight's costume and riding-up on a friends horse to her front door. I proposed, she accepted. Needless to say, several weeks later we parted ways never to reunite (thank heaven). I can't believe that Jim remembered that silly incident from so long ago. Even I have not thought about that since it happened. I guess you truly can never outlive your past (ha,ha). George
After attending BYU he worked in advertising for the World Football League and later was involved in sales and management.  He was their top salesman which made quite an impression on the owners.  The league folded when it couldn't get TV contracts.   Then in 1983 he worked with a Spring and Summer Football League called The United States Football League where George was VP of marketing for the LA Express (one of 12 teams)  where Steve Young played for a time.  He made plans for a Teenage World Fair with Paramount Pictures but the business was sold and the Fair didn't get off the ground.  The parent company of Paramount was sold and the new leadership didn't want to honor the production commitments of the executive production team

George considers his mother side of the family as the most spiritual.  His ggrandfather was a Methodist circuit rider near Shenandoah, Iowa.  While growing up his mother taught at the Ida Reed McCarthy Nursery School and even worked with Walt Disney's grandchildren.  When she was 86 she surprised George by saying, "I would like to be baptized."  The missionaries had a hard time finding people so rather than George doing the baptism he let the missionaries do the baptism and George confirmed her.  George's mother lived to be 90.

At BYU George was an art major.  After the World Football League he felt un-satsified with his creative side.  He wanted to be a writer producer.  He enjoys coming up with new concepts. "I tried to find someone to produce the fairs for many years.  I looked for someone with deep pockets, 25 - 30 million dollars to go to six major cities.  George started Teenager World Fair Inc and had two offices in Century City.  George and the staff came close to getting it off the ground but it fell through for varying reasons."  As part of this venture he went to Utah.  

On one trip to Utah he traveled from San Diego to Logan.  Along the way he stopped at a bed and breakfast in Nephi, UT.  It was there he met the owner Dottie.  She came to San Diego for a week and drove to the airport.  It was a tear filled parting which convinced George he was in love.  They corresponded for a year and then he popped the question.

George, 52, married Dottie in 1997.  She has four children and nine grandchildren who live in Layton, West Jordan, Nephi and Anarbor  at the University of Michigan.  They have been married 19 years as of 2016.  George says the best thing he ever did was to marry Dottie.  They finish each others sentences, attend the temple together and even teach the temple preparation class in their ward.

But life for the couple hasn't been easy.  Dottie was diagnosed with breast cancer early in their marriage.  Fortunately she fought and won and has been cancer free for 14 years.  

Currently George lives in Woodbine, Iowa, 45 minutes above Council Bluffs or Omaha.  About 125 people attend church.  They come from long distances to attend the ward.  It is an easy drive to the Winter Quarters Temple.  That is a couple of miles from the state line between Iowa and Nebraska.  He has written two screen plays after he published his book. The Adventures of Billy Buskirk is a story set in 1956 in a farming community of Iowa.  He wants to tell a story of strong family values set in the heart of America in the 1950s.  A precious teenager who has his own pop band that has a regional following in western Iowa.  He loves midget auto racing.  Rockropolis is the other movie which is a story of the lost tribes of Israel. This is a high adventure story based on Joseph Smith and Josephus.  The story revolves around his decision of which profession to follow.

George is a born promoter with lots of positive energy, friendliness and good will.  

George has written and sold a book called History, Mirth and Fantasy narrative poetry and prose for romantics and Erudite Deletants.  The poems involve a moral twist with a bit of comedy.


Front Row LtoR: Dennis Shanklin, Steve Leeper, Brian Pettit,   ?   , Mike Vail and George Nelson, Gordon Christiansen 
Back row: Phil Cameron, John Reese, Roger Hawley, Glenn LeCheminant, Hal Hardy, Paul Lauten and Brent Frost.

This photo appeared on the front page of the Deseret News sports page with an article about 3 players - Mike Vail, George Nelson and Phil Cameron who joined the church through the influence of the LDS basketball program.

The players selected for the All Tournament Team.  Gordon Christiansen is in the front row middle and George Nelson is in the back row second from right.

Geroge Nelson driving "Star Trek" Celebrity Levar Burton in the 1979 Hollywood Christmas Parade.

George Nelson, VP of Marketing introduces popular DJ Charlie Tuna who was the MC for our LA Express Cheerleader Try-out at the Hollywood Plaladium.

Publicity photo of Mary Hart, host of Entertainment Tonight, with Geroge Nelson of the LA Express and Steven Ford of the Young and The Restless, who acted as celebrity judges.

George Nelson, Jr. takes the reader on a magic carpet ride of astounding adventures of imagination-one that transports you back in time to captivating historic places and subjects as ancient Egypt, the lost civilization of the Maya, and the Revolutionary War. George changes the focus of his imagination and writing as easily as one shift gears while driving, going from historic settings to the mirth and fantasy in poems such as "Nestor, the Lock Ness Monster" and "Pelicans in the Zoo" to psychological parables as found in "The Man with One Eye."

George winds up by bringing the reader to a heartwarming return to the nostalgic fifties with stories about such pop icons as Hop-along Cassidy and sports heroes Duke Snider of the Brooklyn Dodgers and auto racing champion Bill Vukovich. In conclusion, George provides unique spiritual insight in "Something's in the Air," "Oh Celebrate the Joys" and other inspirational writings. Your magic carpet is waiting. Hold on tight for the literary ride of your life!

Parent's marriage:

George's father and mother in the 1940 census: