Chief Petty Officer Karl Robert Nelson, United States Navy (Retired), died peacefully on May 1, 2018, in his Lenexa, KS home.
Karl (with a K) was born in Spring Hill, Kansas. After graduating (rough and tough) from his beloved Spring Hill High School in 1953, he was called to service for the United States Navy Reserve that same year. Karl continued his service in the Navy for another 22 years, where his duty stations included Naval Air Stations in Olathe, KS, Lakehurst, NJ, Glenview, IL, and Point Mugu, CA. Karl was retired from active duty as Chief Aviation Storekeeper to the Fleet Reserve of the United States Navy on June 18, 1975. Friends and family will attest the discipline and patriotism he learned in the Navy never left him.
Karl moved his family to Olathe, KS, to be closer to his mom and brother. He worked for Thermal Components in Mission, KS, where after 20 years of dedicated service, he retired in 1998.
Karl married Margot Lucy Michaud on February 27, 1988, after the two were introduced by Karl’s surrogate son, Brian, and Margot’s niece, Cindy. The Nelsons spent every day of their 30 years together exemplifying true love. Often heard being referred to as her boyfriend, Karl was a man in love with his wife. Their love affair included raising their beloved sheltie, Sallie Coo, endless date nights, a mutual love of music, and traveling across the United States and into Canada, spending time with friends and family along the way.
Karl attended the Lenexa Citizens Police Academy in 2001. This revived his dream of working in public safety and began his volunteering with the Lenexa Police Department. This commenced an onslaught of community service awards Karl earned in a variety of programs. His many years of service to Lenexa earned Karl a place in the Lenexa Volunteer Hall of Fame and the President’s Volunteer Service Award.
Karl was also an active member of the American Legion Post 153 in Olathe, KS, where he served on, and eventually became the Commander of, the Post Color Guard. This assignment was of the utmost importance to Karl. Karl led the Color Guard in presenting the Colors at special events throughout the region, most importantly at services honoring fallen comrades-in-arms. He carried out these sacred duties with nothing but dignity and pride for his brothers-in-arms.
Karl never missed a chance to sit out in the open air, sharing time with loved ones, whether it be on a back porch or at a ballgame (Royals or Chiefs of course). His laugh was beyond contagious and always abundant. His tambourine playing and Big Mouth Frog story telling days will forever be missed.
Karl is survived by his wife, Margot; daughters, Karla Nelson of Olathe, KS and Karen Hicks (David) of Olathe, KS; his grandchildren, William Breitling and Lea Breitling of Olathe, KS; 1LT Callie Becraft (Kansas Army National Guard) (Kyle, HN, USN) of Lawrence, KS, and 2LT Kevin Hicks (US Army, stationed at USAG-H, Korea) of Olathe, KS; one great-grandchild, Hendrix Garrison of Olathe, KS. Karl is preceded in death by his parents, Calland Robert and Margaretta (Graves) Nelson, his brother, Gary Lynn Nelson, and his son, Calland Lynn Nelson (AT, USN).
The family will receive friends for a visitation from 1:30-3:00pm on Saturday, May 5, at Penwell Gabel's Olathe chapel. A Celebration of Life service will follow the visitation at 3:00pm. Interment with military honors will be at Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery on Monday, May 7th at 1:30pm.
While flowers are welcome, the family suggests memorial contributions to the American Legion Post 153, (Please mail to: American Legion Post 153, 410 E Dennis Ave., Olathe, KS 66061 Attn: Jim Smith), or to Saint Luke’s Hospice, or any local hospice service. Expressions of sympathy through the gift of time with loved ones, taking a moment to express the value they bring to your life would also honor Karl’s memory appropriately.
Day is done, gone the sun, from the lake, from the hill, from the sky. All is well. Safely rest. God is nigh. (Taps)