Sanford E. “Swede” Nelson, a civil engineer who had lived in Ridgefield many years, died Thursday, Nov. 15, at his home in Redding. He was 94 years old and the husband of Joyce G. Nelson.
Mr. Nelson was born in Montevideo, Minn., on Oct. 3, 1918, a son of the late Severin and Winifred Nelson and brother to the late Myron E. Nelson. He attended Montevideo schools and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1941 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering.
He joined Standard Oil of New Jersey and was sent to Asia to oversee airport refuelling and manage local oil refineries. Shortly after his arrival in Singapore, he managed to escape out of the country, just before the Japanese occupation. His work took him to many countries in Southeast Asia, as well as to Australia, Africa, and India.
After the war Mr. Nelson continued his job with Esso and married Joyce Nelson in Singapore in 1947. They also lived in Thailand, East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), and Japan. They moved to Ridgefield in the late 1950s with their four daughters.
Mr. Nelson was an active parishioner of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. After his early retirement, he served as a warden, and on several committees.
An avid follower of high school and college basketball, he was often in the bleachers for games when his daughters attended Ridgefield High School and saw many NCAA tournament games.
“He was a keen poker player and would regale his card buddies with his overseas sagas,” his family said.
Besides his wife, Mr. Nelson is survived by his daughters, Anne Pate, Margaret Vogt, Patricia Hilton-Johnson, and Kathryn Scourby, and five grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, three nieces and two nephews.
A memorial service will take place on Saturday, Dec. 1, at 3 p.m. at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church.
The family will receive friends at South Hall after the service.
Memorial contributions may be made in his name to the Raise the Roof Capital Campaign, St. Stephen’s Church, 351 Main Street, Ridgefield, CT 06877, or to the charity of one’s choice.