Cover photo for James Douglas Nelson's Obituary
James Douglas Nelson Profile Photo
1931 James 2022

James Douglas Nelson

July 31, 1931 — November 12, 2022

James D. Nelson, a lifelong Battle Creek resident passed away peacefully in his sleep at age 91 on Saturday, November 12, 2022, at Heritage Assisted Living.

Jim was born July 31, 1931 to James D. and Doris (Handley) Nelson. He was a 1949 graduate of Lakeview High School and attended Michigan State University and Kellogg Community College.

James D. Nelson and Gayla Joyce Conklin were united in marriage on Christmas Eve December 24, 1950 at the First Presbyterian Church in Battle Creek. They were married for 65 years. Gayla passed away on her 83rd birthday, January 23, 2016. Together they had five children. Surviving are daughters Colleen (Winston) Parnell, Karen (Stuart) Noble, Katherine Davis and Connie (James) Hagood; son, Matthew (Sally) Nelson all of Battle Creek; twelve grandchildren, ten great grandchildren and one great great-grandson. Jim was preceded in death by his parents and younger brother Donald Nelson.

Jim served over 10 years in the Michigan National Guard during the Korean and Vietnam Wars obtaining the rank of Master Sergeant. He served on the Lakeview School Board of Education for over 31 years, holding all offices of the Board during his tenure.

Other community and volunteer service includes the Camp Fire Girls Board, two years as President; over 35 years with the Boys Scouts in leadership positions at the Troop, District and Council levels. He was awarded the Distinguished Commissioner award, Vigil Honor of the Order of the Arrow and the Silver Beaver. He served in his Church having held offices as Eider, Trustee, Deacon, usher and made many missionary trips, within the states and abroad.

During his 42 years with the Kellogg Company Human Resources Division, he worked in Employment, Training, and Safety and Security during which he obtained membership in the American Society of Safety Engineers and qualified as a Certified Protection Professional. The last 10 years of employment he had the responsibility for all the United States and Canadian Plant Safety and Security. As a Certified Protection Professional, he chaired the area chapter of the American Society for Industrial Security.

Working for and helping both youth and adults has been a life-long devotion and since retirement he served as a Board member of the Kellogg Retiree Association, Kellogg 25 Year Club Executive Committee and with his Church ordering food and serving soup Kitchen meals at the Salvation Army. He served as Vice President of the Ashton Lake Condo Association Board.

His leisure hobby was woodworking and his family, church and the schools have all received the benefits from this hobby. Throughout his life, Jim, a life-long Lakeview School District resident, continued to follow school activities and took pleasure that his wife and five children are Lakeview graduates.
Jim will be remembered as a servant leader who loved the Lord, his family and his church.

Friends will be received 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. Thursday, November 17, 2022, at Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Cremation Preneed Care. A service to celebrate Jim's life will be officiated by Pastor Mike Wicks 1:00 p.m. Friday, November 18, 2022 at the First Presbyterian Church. Lunch will follow at the church. Entombment will be held at Memorial Park Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to First Presbyterian Church, 111 Capital Avenue N.E., Battle Creek, MI 49017. Personal messages for the family may be placed above in the Memory Book here at

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, November 17, 2022

4:00 - 6:00 pm (Eastern time)

Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Cremation Preneed Care

105 Capital Ave NE, Battle Creek, MI 49017

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Funeral Service

Friday, November 18, 2022

Starts at 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Friday, November 18, 2022

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