Man of faith, commitment to country and love of family were the three guiding lights in the life of Nelson McLoud, who recently passed away after a brief illness.
Born in Huntsville, Arkansas, the third of son of
Everett and Reba McLoud, he was a farm-raised boy who loved the outdoors, working with his hands and playing sports. Nelson was an accomplished high school football player but World War II interrupted the opportunity to play at the next level. He and his two older brothers joined the military, each serving in a different branch, with Nelson choosing the Army Air Forces.
Nelson landed on the beaches of Normandy the day after D-Day and marched through France, into Germany. With the signing of the armistice, he was redeployed to the Pacific theater. After the conclusion of the war, he opted to join the newly established Air Force, making a career in the military. Nelson went on to serve in the Korean conflict and Vietnam War, earning 12 combat stars during his military commitment. Never one for lauding rank, he was friend to generals and enlisted; officers to rank and file. He saw a great deal during his war years and was reluctant to talk about them most of his life, as this “greatest generation” was taught to buckle down and carry on.
In 1947, Nelson married Ellen Schoon of Corsica, South Dakota. They raised their four children on military bases around the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Always active in his local church, he enjoyed coaching his sons’ sports teams, cooking at barbeques for church gatherings and serving his community and country. While deployed numerous times, he was always committed to his family and recognized the supreme sacrifice that military families pay in the absence of their loved ones. It was tough to combine country and family, but he worked hard in seeking a balance. Upon retiring from the Air Force, Nelson retired to Keizer, Ore. where the McLouds lived for the next 50 years. He had visited Oregon while attending boot camp in 1942 and knew it was a place he would one day call home.
After seeing destruction during war, he experienced a different pain while suffering severe burns in 1972. He underwent agonizing months/years of surgeries and rehab. This experience would have conquered the typical man, but not Nelson, who fought back and worked his way back home and into an active, but modified lifestyle. It was his faith that kept him going, knowing his time on earth, molding his children and grandchildren was important, ongoing and a high calling.
Nelson was involved in Keizer Community Church during his Oregon years, serving as a deacon, financial supporter, mentor and teacher. He was an active gardener, amateur apiarist and was known for his skilled hands in addressing anything mechanical and creating any tools/gadgets with his carpentry ability. The berry bushes, fruit trees and packed sheds in his backyard, plus his myriad of tools attest to his many hobbies, talents and continued love of the outdoors.
Nelson was predeceased by his wife of 66 years, Ellen and his son, Dean McLoud. He is survived by his sons, Don McLoud (Christine Menager), Doug McLoud (Erick Walker); daughter, Denise Lilley (Charles Lilley); granddaughters Kathryn French (Chad French), Clara Evensen (Matthew Evensen), Caroline Lilley, Melissa Lilley and his great-granddaughters, Lilley and Caroline. He will be sorely missed as his guiding lights of faith, commitment and love, will shine on in those he touched. His memory and example serve as a lasting model of servanthood, living fully and loving well.
We thank the many VA medical staff that tended to his care over the years, the dear friends at his church that embraced him as “dad” and to Willamette Valley Hospice, who helped guide his last days here on earth. It is not goodbye, but merely farewell for now.
His promotion to glory will be held at Keizer Community Church on Saturday, Nov. 30, from 1 to 3 p.m. In lieu of flowers, remembrances can be made to Keizer Community Church and Willamette Valley Hospice.