Robert “Jim” Moore Nelson

October 29, 1940 - March 15, 2024

Robert Moore “Jim” Nelson peacefully passed away on Friday, March 15, 2024, in Carson City, Nevada. He was born on October 29, 1940, to Edith Naomi Moore Nelson and William Thomas Nelson, and was raised on a dairy farm in White Hall, Maryland. Jim loved his days working on the homestead and was proud that he developed the work ethic and knowledge required to run the farm.

When Jim was 20 years old, he moved to Colorado and lived with his beloved aunt and uncle, Ruth and James Moore. There he completed college at Colorado State University, majoring in Forestry and graduating Phi Beta Kappa and with distinction. Jim always claimed that the forestry degree was the toughest degree to earn, and he did so with ease. He married Delana Ewing, and together they had three children, Dana, James, and Julie all while beginning his professional career with the U.S. Forest Service. As Jim excelled in the Forest Service, numerous promotions moved the family around Colorado, to South Dakota, back to Colorado, then on to Pennsylvania before finally landing in Reno, Nevada where Jim finished out his Forest Service Career as the Supervisor of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, the largest national forest in the lower 48 states.

Jim’s career revolved around his readiness to tackle any problem head on, to treat people with respect, but to always do what’s right for the land, regardless of the consequence. Through his hard work, wilderness areas were established, and lands were transferred to public hands to ensure they would be pristine for generations. He led by example, and became a gifted horseman, as the only way to manage the thousands of wilderness acres and ensure those lands were being cared for in the manner they deserved was from the back of a horse. Jim’s work was important to him, and he appealed to politicians and other leaders who were interested in public lands to help with the environmental and management issues, building coalitions of wildland supporters. He was quick to plan a trip and take those leaders on horseback, if necessary, to personally show each of them the environmental needs. Jim’s approach and successes earned him many awards for leadership, innovation, and management. Some he was most proud of include: The National Wildlife Federation’s 1996 Conservation Achievement Award for his extraordinary contributions to the conservation of wildlife and natural resources; the Wilderness Society’s 1996 Olaus and Margaret Murie Award for consistently standing up for the guiding principles of stewardship established by Gifford Pinchot and for his bravery, commitment and determination in the face of great odds in a forest service career that spanned 30 years and many forests; and finally, Vice-President Al Gore’s Hammer Award in recognition of building a government that works better and costs less.

In Reno, Jim married his second wife, Ann Wilson, and together they had three children, Jennifer, Morgan, and Kaitlyn. He loved his life, and his kids made him enjoy it even more. He was a devoted father and raised all his children with love and humor. The four grandchildren that were added to his life made him even happier, and he adored Elsa, Ashlyn, Liam, and Cali as well.

Jim was an avid runner in his younger days and was proud that he qualified for and completed the Boston Marathon. He loved the outdoors and was always at home on a hunting or horse-pack trip, or out back-packing and camping. He loved to read and had an eclectic taste in books. He loved life, his family and his friends and would welcome anyone to join in. He had a special connection to the wild, including the wildlife that depend on that land staying wild. Jim loved the mountains. He lived an honorable life and will be greatly missed and dearly remembered by all who knew him.

Jim was predeceased by his parents, his sister and brother-in-law, Lillian “Jackie” and Martin Hendrix, and his brother and sister-in-law, William, and Beverly Nelson. He is survived by his wife, Ann Nelson and his six children: Dana Nelson, James Nelson (Kris Purcell), Julie Hayward (Daniel Hayward), Jennifer Nelson (Anthony Rose), Morgan Nelson (Tyler Schulz) and Kaitlyn Nelson. He is also survived by his four grandchildren: Elsa Ross, Ashlyn Nelson, Liam Hayward, and Cali Rose.

Celebration of Life to be held at the Toiyabe Golf Club, 19 Lightning W Ranch Rd, New Washoe City, NV 89704,Thursday, May 23rd from 2-5pm.

The family would like to express their thanks and appreciation to the warm, caring staff of Carson Expressions who made Jim’s last months so comfortable. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in honor of R.M. “Jim” Nelson to either Nevada Bighorns Unlimited, P.O. Box 21393, Reno, Nevada 89515, (775) 400-1172 or Coalition for Nevada’s Wildlife, P.O. Box 70143, Reno, Nevada 89515, (775) 741-8825.

Celebration of Life to be held at the Toiyabe Golf Club , 19 Lightning W Ranch Rd, New Washoe City, NV 89704, Thursday, May 23rd from 2-5pm