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Roger D. NelsonNovember 8, 1960 ~ March 30, 2017 (age 56)
Roger Daniel Nelson age 56 of Grand Rapids passed away suddenly on Thursday March 30, 2017. Roger was born on November 8, 1960 in Cortland, New York to Myrtle and Daniel Nelson. He grew up in Waukesha, Wisconsin where he loved playing music and did well in school, volleyball and golf. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1985. He then attended Chicago Musical College, now known as Chicago College of Performing Arts, at Roosevelt University, earning his bachelor’s degree in music in 1988. Roger met his future wife Linda Baker at the Chautauqua Institution and they later married in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Roger spent the first half of his career with the Grand Rapids Symphony on stage as a double bass player. He joined the Grand Rapids Symphony at the start of the 1987-88 season under former Music Director Catherine Comet and played with the orchestra for 17 seasons through the 2003-04 season. In 2002-03, Nelson became Grand Rapids Symphony’s Operations Manager, dividing his time between performing and stage managing. In 2004-05, he became full-time Director of Operations. The following year, he was promoted to Vice President and General Manager.
In addition to his passion and gifts in music, Roger knew how things worked and was able to fix almost anything. He enjoyed learning about and doing all the work on his house. His most common form of love and support was to lavish home repairs on others. He loved innovation and especially innovation with cars. He kept up with automobile advancements and always knew which car had the best horsepower for the money or the best gas mileage for the money. Roger solved problems. He stayed calm, assessed the situation, came up with options and pursued the best path. Roger was a gifted and generous Elder at Westminster Presbyterian Church for both music and stewardship. He held the whole church in his heart.
He will be greatly missed by his wife of 29 years Linda Nelson; loving father to his three children, Elizabeth, Andrew and Hannah Nelson. He is also survived by his mother Myrtle Nelson; siblings David (Martha) Nelson, Douglas (Jenny) Nelson, Bruce Nelson, Martha (Mark) Aslakson and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. Roger was preceded in death by his infant son Johan and father Rev. Dr. Daniel W. Nelson.
The family will greet relatives and friends Sunday April 9th from 4-6pm and Monday April 10th from 10am-12pm at Westminster Presbyterian Church. The memorial service will be held 1:00 P.M. Monday April 10th at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 47 Jefferson Ave. S.E., Grand Rapids, MI 49503. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a memorial contribution to Westminster Presbyterian Church or the Grand Rapids Symphony Annual Fund.
Westminster Presbyterian Church
47 Jefferson Ave SE, Grand Rapids MI 49503
Grand Rapids Symphony
300 Ottawa Ave NW, Grand Rapids MI 49503