Coot H. Nelson
05/28/1919 - 02/15/2018
Service Date: 02/19/2018
Dr. Coot Harold Nelson, JR.
Dr. Coot Harold Nelson, Jr. died on February 15 at Mercy Hospital, Oklahoma City. The longtime Watonga resident was 98. He was born on May 28, 1919 in Marshall County near Madill, Oklahoma. At a young age his family moved to Geary, Oklahoma. He attended Grandfield Country School Northeast of Geary and graduated from Geary High School. Coot attended Southwestern University in Weatherford, Oklahoma on a wrestling scholarship, graduating in 1941. On his graduation day, he received his draft notice for the U.S. Navy.
Coot completed Flight School at Corpus Christi, Texas and was commissioned a Second Lt. in the Navy. He was transferred to the Marine Corp and trained for duty overseas. His squadron was VMSB 144. He flew the Douglas Dauntless SBD and was shipped to Guadalcanal in February 1943. The squadron was part of the “Cactus Air Force” that dive bombed Japanese shipping and installations. He remained in combat until the end of November 1943. Upon return to the United States his squadron was reformed into VMSB 454 and trained for carrier service and left the Marines at the end of the War.
Nelson enrolled in the Los Angeles College of Optometry graduating in 1947. He moved to Watonga, Oklahoma where he established a practice that served the community for 37 years. His Optometric legacy continues through his son Dr. Tim Nelson. The practice has been in Watonga for over 70 years.
Coot married Bette Dietrich in 1944 and established their home in Watonga. He became a fixture and community leader for over 75 years. He served on the boards of the United Methodist Church, Kiwanis Club, Chamber of Commerce, Watonga School Board, Boy Scouts of America, and many other organizations in which he lent his time and effort. He also served as president of the Oklahoma Optometric Association.
A long time summer resident of Crested Butte, Colorado, the Nelsons enjoyed over 47 years at their cabin and developed lasting friendships with neighbors and visitors of the vacation and ski resort.
Coot Nelson leaves a daughter, Lou Ann Timmons of Yukon; sons, Dietrich Nelson (David Beckwith) of Phoenix, Arizona; Dr. Tim Nelson (Sheri) of Watonga and Rick Nelson (Annika) of Flemington, New Jersey. He is survived by grandchildren, Ann Marshall (Mark) of Yukon; Julie Garcia of Watonga; Alyse Trumbley (Justin) of Kingfisher; Dillon Nelson of Stillwater; and Corbin Nelson of Tulsa. He has six great-grandchildren Logan Marshall (Chelsea) of Allen Park, Michigan; Lance Marshall (Angie) of Taylor, Michigan; Rees Marshall of Taylor, Michigan; Devin, Aidyn, and Brittany Garcia of Watonga; and two great-great grandchildren Levi Marshall of Taylor, Michigan and Aubrey Brewer of Allen Park, Michigan.
He was preceded in death by his wife Bette Nelson.