June 15, 2023
Eric (Rick) Robert Nelson, Jr., was born Jan. 16, 1951, in Shelby, Mont., and died June 2, 2023, surrounded by his family. His parents were Eric (Bob) Nelson and Lois Pride Nelson.
The family lived in Idaho until moving to Castle Rock just in time for the 1962 Columbus Day Storm. They moved to Cathlamet a year later, with his father managing and, in 1966, buying The Wahkiakum County Eagle. Rick worked as a printer's devil and pressman. He graduated from Wahkiakum High School in 1969, having participated in football, baseball and debate. He attended Western Washington University, with a year at the University of Nice, France, and graduated with bachelor degrees in French and Journalism.
In 1974, he married Mary Ann Diddams. They would have two children, Jacob and Jamie.
In 1975, the couple moved to Whidbey Island where Rick edited The Whidbey Island Record. In January, 1979, the couple and 6-month-old first born son Jacob moved to Cathlamet, and Rick joined his father's crew at The Eagle, becoming publisher when his father died in 2006.
Rick volunteered in several organizations, including the Kiwanis Club of Cathlamet; he enjoyed 10 years as assistant line coach for the Mules; he served six years on the SW Washington ELCA Lutheran Synod Council, and two decades advocating for LGBTQ inclusion with Reconciling Works and PFLAG Lower Columbia. He was a member of Stella Lutheran Chapel.
Surviving Rick are his wife and sons, son-in-law Brandon J. Simmons, his sister Amy Nelson Bristow (Mike Sato), nephew Glen Bristow, niece Jocelyn Bristow, and close cousin Melinda Pride.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 2:00pm on Saturday, June 17, at St. James Family Center. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to PFLAG Lower Columbia, Reconciling Works, or the Puget Island Fire Department.
Arrangements by Dowling Funeral Home.