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CVM Professor Emeritus Passes

Always a gentle and soft-spoken man, Stuart Lindberg Nelson Sr. had many passions, including his family, his veterinary work and his faith. “My husband was a very careful individual. He never swore or anything like that and was very aware of his words,” said his wife, Helen Marie Kurch. Dr. Nelson, of Columbia, died Monday, Dec. 3, 2007. He was 84.

He was born on May 23, 1923, in Solon, Ohio, to Ogle Wyatt and Caroline Laverne (Jerome) Nelson. He married his wife on December 16, 1943. They were two weeks short of reaching their 64th wedding anniversary.

Dr. Nelson was a member of the U.S. Navy during World War II. He was also very active in the veterinary field and highly regarded by his colleagues. After graduating from Ohio State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 1952, he went on to earn his master’s degree and doctorate in philosophy at Purdue University in 1959 and 1961. A board-certified pathologist, Dr. Nelson also served as an instructor of veterinary pathology at Purdue University and became an ambulatory clinician.

As a working father, Dr. Nelson took his son to work sometimes. But no one knew that Stuart Lindberg Jr. would eventually follow in his father’s footsteps. “Stuart (Jr.) would come home saying he heard daddy talking to the farmers,” his wife said. “He listened to his dad and never said much about being interested in the field, but he later became a veterinarian.”

After three years of service at the Florida Animal Diagnostic Laboratory as a veterinary pathologist, Dr. Nelson became a professor at MU’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 1965. He worked there until retirement, and then became a professor emeritus in 1989.

Dr. Nelson was also a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Missouri Veterinary Medical Association, the New York Academy of Sciences, Phi Zeta, Alpha Psi and the National Honor Society. He held diplomat status with the American College of Veterinary Pathologists. Dr. Nelson became known for his contributions to the Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory at MU. He was instrumental in mentoring a new generation of veterinary pathologists.

He was also an active member of the Evangelical Free Church, where he worked closely with the prison ministry. Mr. Nelson read and taught the Bible to prisoners, and had such an impact that one of those prisoners will be a pallbearer at his funeral. “He was so loved by his family and was such a wonderful example to all of us,” his wife said.

Dr. Nelson is survived by his wife; a son, Stuart Nelson Jr.; and a daughter, Kimberly Nelson.
Visitation will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at Evangelical Free Church, 600 Silvey St. Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at the church. Interment will follow at Memorial Park Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Gideons International Ministry, 1008 Hardin St., Columbia, MO 65203. Online tributes may be left at

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Last Update: February 29, 2012