Kenneth Richard Nelson, 84, of Scotia, New York, passed away on May 20, 2022.
Born in Camden, NJ, on November 11, 1937, Ken earned his Bachelor's degree in Music Education from Lebanon Valley College, Annville, PA, in 1960. It was at Lebanon Valley that he also met the love of his life, and wife of 62 years, Barbara Jean Klinger. He went on to earn his Master of Arts in Music and Conducting from Trenton State College (now College of New Jersey) in 1963.
Ken taught music in the Pennridge School District in the Perkasie, PA, until 1967, when he and Barbara moved to Scotia, NY. He went on to teach junior high school general music and chorus, and elementary school music, for the next 33 years, in the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake School District, until his retirement in 1998. He served as Choir Director at the Zwingli UCC, Souderton, PA, for 7 years, and as Music Director for the First Reformed Church, Scotia, NY, for 34 years. He also volunteered as a Director of Music for the Schenectady Light Opera Company in Schenectady, NY, for approximately 15 years.
Ken’s passion for music extended beyond teaching and conducting. An avid composer, he composed several pieces of music for various instruments, including harp, flute and organ, handbells, and concert band, as well as multiple pieces for brass quintet, both with and without SATB choir and organ. His instrument of choice was the tuba, and he found himself in hot demand after his retirement, playing with brass quintets in both Scotia, NY and Largo, FL, and with two orchestras in Largo, FL.
Having been introduced to model railroading when he was just 8 years old, Ken never met a train he didn’t like. He worked for 2 years as a Fireman, Brakeman, and Conductor for the New Hope and Ivyland Railroad in New Hope, PA, and worked 5 years as a Fireman and Hostler for the Delaware and Hudson Railroad in upstate NY. He modeled primarily in HO gauge, but also 1.5” scale live steam and diesel. He was a member of the National Model Railroad Association, and in 2021, was awarded Master Model Railroader #688. He was a member of the Adirondack Live Steamers in Wilton, NY, and the Largo Central Railroad in Largo, FL. His layout, the Poco Valley Lines, was featured in Model Railroader January 1991, Railroad Model Craftsmen October 1980, and the NMRA magazine. Ken wrote the book, The Story Behind the Poco Valley Railroad, copyright 2019.
Never one to miss a well-placed pun, Ken was always ready with a joke for anyone willing to listen. He’d be the first to tell you that funerals are a dying industry, and that the crematorium has to urn his business. Ken’s never-ending sense of humor will be missed by all who knew him. He also enjoyed playing softball and ping-pong, shooting movies of family vacations and holidays, and showing everyone how they used to do things “down at Joe’s.” His kind heart, exuberance for life, and love for his family and friends will never be forgotten.
He is survived by his wife, Barbara; his children, Jeffrey David (Ann Marie Romanczyk) Nelson, Timothy Scott (Julie Giglio) Nelson, and Patricia Sue (Ole) Nelson Grønborg; and grandchildren, Joseph Kenneth, Graham Forrest, Rachel Ann, and Rebecca Ann Nelson; his brother-in-law Otto Crumroy; as well as many nieces and nephews.
A memorial service for Ken will be held at 3pm on Saturday, June 18th, at the First Reformed Church of Scotia, 224 Ballston Ave, Scotia, NY. The service can also be live streamed through the First Reformed Church of Scotia’s YouTube channel.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Ken’s honor to the First Reformed Church of Scotia, and to Adirondack Live Steamers, 19 Sunset Blvd, Waterford, NY 12188.
First Reformed Church of Scotia
224 N Ballston Avenue, Scotia NY 12302
Adirondack Live Steamers
19 Sunset Blvd, Waterford NY 12188