Dr. Grant Winfield Nelson, DDS, beloved husband, father, brother, and friend, passed away peacefully in his sleep at his Ferndale home on December 31, 2020. Grant was born on May 17, 1924, in Chicago, Illinois, to Oscar and Mildred Nelson. Grant was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Lee, and his brothers, Russ and Don. Grant valiantly served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Corps, in the 38th Bomb Group, as a B-25 bomber pilot, flying many missions in the Pacific Theater during World War II.
After his tour of duty, Grant was accepted to the University of Illinois Dental School. It was there he met the love of his life, Mary Lee. In 1952, after both graduating, they made a commitment that resulted in over 60 years of companionship and love. They then traveled west and made Ferndale, WA, their home where Grant began his career as a dentist. He maintained a dental practice for over 30 years in Ferndale.
Grant’s passions were flying and travel. He was a member of the “Flying Dentists Club.” He flew private Cessnas and earned his instrument rating. Every Sunday, he met with fellow pilots at the Bellingham Airport – the group proudly refers to themselves as the “Whatcom Old Flyers Club” – where they shared endless, yet captivating stories. Europe and Asia were Grant and Mary Lee’s favorite places to explore, and they also loved to travel across the United States in their motor home with their two children.
Grant is survived by his two children, David and Nancy, Nancy’s husband Dan, and his three grandchildren, Katy, Christopher, and Alexa.
Grant lived a long, honorable life, and kept his renowned sense of humor to the very end. He will be dearly missed.
Grant will be laid to rest at Greenacres Memorial Park, with military honors, in Ferndale, WA.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Bellingham Central Lions Club.