Leland R. Nelson


(June 1, 2008)

Surrounded by family, Leland (Lee) Roy Nelson, 71, died Sunday, June 1, at his home in Powell. Despite his 20-year battle with cancer, Lee never lost his wonderful sense of humor or his hope for better tomorrows.

Leland was born March 3, 1937, in Sidney, Mont., the firstborn of Alice and Soren Nelson.

After work in the oil fields in Montana, he served in the U.S. Army. He was a cost accountant at Fort Greeley, Delta Junction, Alaska. Upon completion of his military service, he attended Montana State University, earning a B.S. degree in accounting as well as attaining an honorary National Commerce award from Pi Omega Pi. Leland was a member of National and Western Association of College and University Business Officers.

Upon graduation, he accepted the position of business manager of the Montana State Training School and Hospital at Boulder, Mont., from June 1963-1968. It was there where he met his wife, Margaret “Peg” McEnaney of Helena, Mont. They were married July 9, 1966, in Boulder. Two children completed their family, Troy Michael and Tara Leanne.

Lee and Peg moved to Bozeman, Mont., in 1968. He assumed the role of assistant director of Administration at Montana State University. In 1995 he retired with 35 years of service with the state of Montana and relocated to Powell.

He was a member of Hope Lutheran Church, both in Bozeman and in Powell. He was a member of the Optimist International as well as a lieutenant governor of the Alberta-Montana-Saskatchewan District. He was a little league and T-ball coach and cub-master of Boy Scouts of America Pack 671. He also was a member of B.P.O.E. Lodge #463.

His love of the outdoors gave him many hours of fishing, hunting, camping, boating and backpacking pleasures, which earned him the name of “Lucky Lee.” He was an avid trap shooter and he found cooking and entertaining, as well as woodworking and building activities a real joy. Additional blessings in Leland’s life were being “Papa” to his granddaughters, Allie and Sydney, and friend and storyteller to all he met.

Survivors include his wife of 42 years, Peggy of Powell; son Troy Nelson and granddaughters Allison and Sydney of Denver; daughter Tara Nelson of Savoonga, Alaska; brother Jerry Nelson (Arlyss) of Bozeman; sister Dorothy Cavener (Harold) of Paul, Idaho; Aunt Ann Petersen of Sidney, Mont; and numerous cousins. He was preceded in death by his father Soren and mother Alice.

A memorial service will be held at Hope Lutheran Church, Powell, at 10:30 am, Thursday June 5. Pastor Bill Spencer will officiate the celebration of Leland’s life. A burial service will be held July 2 at the Sunset Hills Cemetery in Bozeman. Friend and Pastor Ron Paulson will officiate. Thompson’s Funeral Home, Powell, will be handling the arrangements.

The family requests memorials be sent to Powell Valley Hospice or the Billings Clinics’ Cancer Research Center, Billings, Mont.