Dale Eugene “Cork” Nelson, 82, of Cody, died peacefully at home on Dec. 14, 2020, and went into the presence of his loving Savior.
Cork was born in Pottawattamie County, Iowa, on Oct. 4, 1938, to Arleigh and Grace (Gittins) Nelson. He grew up on a farm near Stennett, Iowa, and graduated from Stennett High School in 1956. He then attended one year of junior college in Clarinda, Iowa and one and a half years of college at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.
On June 24, 1959, he married Patricia Kennedy and they lived in Iowa until moving to Omaha, Neb., in 1960. After moving to Omaha, he worked as a draftsman for Standard Iron Works until he and his brother-in-law began a drywall business. After a few years, he went into construction and he later went out on his own and created Nelson Construction Company.
In April of 1969, Cork accepted Christ as his personal savior. His love for his three children, Lori, Robbin and Mark, and the desire to honor God grew into a calling to work with a youth ministry. While he was involved with the local Youth for Christ organization, the family met a young man, Mike Fontenot, who instantly became and continues to be part of the family.
In August of 1970, the family moved to an acreage north of Omaha in the small rural community of Fort Calhoun, Neb., to live the country life. And in 1972, they welcomed their fourth child, Kirk, making their family complete.
In 1978, Cork had a strong desire to move to the mountains and began praying for God’s leading in that decision. Shortly after, God answered that prayer and they were able to purchase 20 acres on a mountain in Cody. In 1980, they were able to fulfill that dream and moved to their mountain home.
Cork traveled the United States with his crew for many years building churches for Goodman Church Builders. In 1995, he was able to retire from the road and focus on running his business, Cork Nelson Construction Company, in the mountains that he loved and nearby communities. He was able to enjoy the mountain life for 29 years – hunting, horseback riding, skiing, etc. until health issues forced a move closer to town.
Cork was preceded in death by his parents.
He is survived by his wife Pat of 61 years, their children Lori (Bob) Diefenbaugh of Blair, Neb., Robbin (Jim) Pollock, Mark (Mary) Nelson and Kirk (Julie) Nelson, all of Cody, and foster son, Mike (Betsy) Fontenot of Lake Oswego, Ore., 16 grandchildren, 20 (and one soon-to-arrive) great-grandchildren, his sisters Phyllis Viner of Malvern, Iowa, and Pat Nelson of Omaha, and numerous family members.
He will always be remembered as a man of integrity, who took life in stride – never losing his smile. He loved his Lord and family, a mentor to many and had a great passion for old John Deere tractors. He is tremendously loved and will be missed by many. They celebrate his life knowing that he has been made whole again by his loving Father and that one day they will be reunited.
Funeral services will be held at Cody CMA Church on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020 at 4 p.m. A graveside service will be held on Saturday at Riverside-Graham Cemetery for Cork’s family.
Condolences can be sent on Cork’s memorial page at BallardFH.com.
Memorials may be directed to Stillwater Hospice for the loving care they provided during Cork’s final days.