Clayton W. Nelson

Clayton W. Nelson, Pierre, passed away peacefully on August 6, 2011, after a long, courageous battle with leukemia, at the age of 86.

He was born December 26, 1924, on his grandfather's ranch near Midland, S.D., in a partial log house. Clayton was the son of Oliver and Edrie (Faubel) Nelson.

He attended Pleasant View #63 until he completed the eighth grade, and then went on to Midland High School where he graduated in 1943.

Clayton was drafted into the U.S. Navy on October 23, 1943, in Philip. After boot camp, he went to Memphis, Tenn., for aviation radio school, and later went to Jacksonville, Fla., for gunnery school. Clayton tried to get into the "V-5" program for training naval pilots, but upon his waiting to get into the program, it was cut by the military. He then trained as an aviation radioman and gunner.

After being honorably discharged, he returned to the home ranch, where he went back to ranching, and bought and sold cattle. In 1968, he moved to Pierre where, later on in 1970, he went to work for the State of South Dakota as a capitol security officer. He worked there until his retirement. During his career there, he developed many fond memories, and really enjoyed meeting the various people involved with state government, and many others who came to visit the capitol building.

Clayton was a natural artist. He really liked to do sculptures and draw quick sketches. In addition, he drew for KELO-Land TV for various court trials and was recruited to work for them full-time. He also did portrait sketches at the South Dakota State Fair, local senior parent parties, and at various park celebrations over the years. Furthermore, he loved to sit in the local café and draw a sketch of someone without them knowing it, and then would give it to them as a keepsake. As a sign of appreciation, those folks sent many free burgers his way.

Clayton created the Stanley County Buffalo statue along with his friend, Cheryl. As part of the preparation, he traveled out to the Black Hills to video tape the buffalo in their natural environment, so he could form the fiberglass buffalo perfectly. Also, along with his friend, he helped create the fiberglass ice cream cone located at the "cool spot" in Ft. Pierre. Clayton always loved a good game of cards, especially with all of his buddies at the Izaak Walton League. He had an exceptional gift of memory, along with a great poker face. No one ever knew what he was up to. Through the years he acquired the nickname, "Midland."

Survivors include his daughter, Katrina (Vaun) Hewlett of Pierre; three sisters, Arlene Petoske of Midland, Nadine (Dick) Stamm of Greensburg, La., Marcia Jackson of Hot Springs; one brother, Roald Nelson of Midland; one sister-in-law, Rose Nelson of Midland; seven grandchildren, Kyle (Dawn) Hewlett of Watertown, Sherre (Lyn) Hodny and their children, Kyra and Brenden of Fargo, N.D., Michael Hewlett of Bradley, Mollee (Todd) Madden and their son, Teagan of Pierre, Kaydee (Steve) Withers and their children, Kolten and Karsten of Pierre, Kallee (Michael) Rydland and their son Landen of Sioux Falls, Kristoffer Hewlett of Pierre; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his significant other, Mildred Kristensen; his parents, Oliver and Edrie Nelson; two brothers, Rupert Nelson and Olaf "Ole" Nelson; one great-grandson, Austin Oliver Hewlett.

Services were held August 13, 2011, at Lutheran Memorial Church in Pierre with Pastors Don Block and Sara Goldammer officiating.

Music was provided by Linda Steele, organist, Barb Petoske, pianist, and Barb Jones, soloist.