Joe was born on July 17, 1919, in Hebron, the son of Frank B. and Clara (Dennison) Nelson.
Joe graduated from Granville High School in 1940. Joe filled his long life with many varied endeavors and pleasures.
First and foremost he was a farmer. Not having to leave the homestead to go to an office or factory meant that he was able to spend time with his beloved wife and family. Farming also afforded him a lot of outdoor time for which he was always grateful as he worked and admired God’s creation of nature. As he aged, he loved sharing stories with his family about life as it “used to be,” especially “old-time” farming techniques. His grandchildren always enjoyed the times when Joe would tell them stories and reminisce with them. Some of his numerous hobbies were photography, collecting coins and license plates.
In his search to find a “better way” he became somewhat of an inventor. One of the things he enjoyed crafting were horse sleighs.
Joe enjoyed boxing and baseball. Even though he was not trained formally, he loved boxing. When his abilities surpassed the local area, he went to surrounding areas, such as Albany to seek boxing matches. He rarely had to go more than a couple rounds before being declared the winner.
This was especially useful to his father, who ran the Nelson Dance Hall, there on the family farm. Joe was able to serve as a very effective bouncer. When it was his turn to run the family dance hall, his reputation kept any problems at the hall to a minimum.
Joe also enjoyed baseball. He held baseball games in the yard out behind his house where the entire family could not only learn the rules, but spend time together and also cultivate a love of the sport.
Joe was a faithful member of the East Hebron United Presbyterian Church, where he also served an elder. He was a member of the Hebron Grange; he was also a member of the former Salem-Ondawa Chapter 54 of the Masonic Lodge.
Joe was predeceased by two children, Lyndon and Audrey, and a brother, Henry Nelson.
Survivors are his beloved wife of 64½ years, Helma Montgomery Nelson; his children, Edward and his wife, Bonnie, of Glens Falls, William and Barry, both of Hebron, Phyllis Mercure and her friend, Mark Smith, of Granville, Sherri Nelson and her friend, Celso Miranda , and Pearl May and her husband, Javier, all of Santa Rosa, Calif. Also surviving are a brother, Elbert Nelson and his wife, Mary, of Bayside. Joe was blessed with nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
A funeral service will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 19, at 2 p.m. at the Robert M. King Funeral Home, 23 Church St., Granville, with the Rev. Bill Daigle of the East Hebron United Presbyterian Church officiating. Friends may call from 1 p.m. until the time of the service. Burial will be in the spring at the Evergreen Cemetery in Salem.
The family has asked that memorial contributions be made to the Salem or Granville rescue squads. They would also like to thank Dr. Barney Rubenstein, the Washington County Public Health nurses and the Pleasant Valley Day Care for their thoughtful care and assistance.