Jay attended schools in California and Wyoming and graduated with a high school diploma from Powell High School in May 1945. On graduation day, he was inducted into the Army.
Jay became interested in flying from a young age. During his career he logged more than 8,500 hours as an agricultural pilot, bush pilot, flight instructor, corporate pilot, ferry pilot and charter pilot. He was also an aviation instructor and enjoyed a 28-year career at the Federal Aviation Administration as both an instructor and accident prevention specialist.
In September 2001 he was inducted into the Oklahoma Aviation Hall of Fame and considered the award the highlight of his career.
Jay married Barbara Jane Nelson (Gray) on Feb. 14, 1955, in Billings. They were married for 51 years.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Hank and Lettie Nelson, and his wife, Barbara Nelson.
Jay is survived by his son, Richard (Kristin) Nelson; two granddaughters, Jackie TeBeest and Kelley Nelson-Strouts; sister Leatha (Ron) Hanson; brother Ray (Sherri) Nelson; and many relatives and friends.
Memorial donations may be sent to the American Stroke Association at www.strokeassociation.org.
Funeral services were held on Sunday, June 30, at the Vondel L. Smith & Son funeral home in Oklahoma City, Okla.