Doug Nelson

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Doug Nelson was born in Iowa and died in Florida, but he lived most of his 68 years in Lawrence Kansas. He died on January 1, 2019 of pulmonary fibrosis.

Doug grew up in Glen Ellyn IL. He was a member of the Boy Scouts and earned the rank of Eagle Scout by building benches along an area pathway. He was proud to follow his late father, Eugene K. Nelson, who also earned the rank of Eagle. Doug's grandniece, Clara, is carrying on the family tradition by recently becoming a Scout.

He would have been a BMOC at Glenbard West High School if only he had a 1967 GTO. Instead, he worked as a dishwasher in a local restaurant and bagged groceries to earn money toward that dream. His dad and late mom, Mary Madge Nelson, kept their four children busy with chores and projects that included a large backyard vegetable garden.

Doug arrived at the University of Kansas as a freshman in 1968 and lived in Lawrence until 2018. The last fourteen years were split between Lawrence and Bonita Springs FL.

His biggest accomplishment as a student was extending his senior year from 1972 to 1977 to secure football seats in the senior section for five years. (Hey, look at the years 1968 through 1977 - John Riggins, Bobby Douglass, John Zook, David Jaynes, Nolan Cromwell).

Doug attended three significant KU sporting events: the infamous "12th man" 1968 Orange Bowl where KU lost to Penn State by one point, the ill-fated "crimson uniform comeback" and Danny Manning's first Final Four in 1986 where KU lost to Duke in the first round. And, finally, the gloriously redemptive win over Virginia Tech at the 2008 Orange Bowl.

Doug's professional life was law enforcement. He was often amused by the public in Lawrence. On patrol, he received a call of "possible UFO in front yard". He arrived at the residence, examined the "UFO" and asked the homeowner, did you recently order a pizza? The silver delivery pouch had been accidently left in the yard.

On a noise disturbance call, he entered a college apartment filled with people and loud music. He approached the ad hoc DJ who was cross-legged on the floor rifling through CDs and loading an early 1990s CD player. Doug yelled, it's the police – twice. The DJ continued to flip through the CDs and said, I know I've got them here somewhere. Doug tapped the young man on the shoulder and said, no, it's the police!

Doug was proud of a number of things in his life: earning the rank of Eagle Scout, graduating from KU, completing an unblemished law enforcement career of 42 years (25 as a LKPD Patrol Officer and 17 years as a Municipal Court Security Officer), maintaining a 42 year marriage, and the fact he owned and drove only three cars in his life: a beige 1969 VW Beetle, a green 1991 Jeep Cherokee, and a purple 2007 Dodge Charger (Limited Edition Plum Crazy 728/1,400 manufactured, currently with 10,010 miles, HEMI 3.5 L 250 HP V 6 – sadly less of a chick magnet than anticipated in 1967).

He will be missed by his wife Elaine (otherwise known as his Florida wife), his best friend Polly, sisters Mala Barnes in Kansas City, Marla Smith (Randy) in Ft. Myers FL, his brother David Nelson (Lynn) in Venice FL, his many colleagues, friends and acquaintances in every coffee shop ever to exist in Lawrence from the Village Inn to the Bourgeois Pig, Zip Lock Glad Bags (manufacturer of wallets) and the aforementioned 2007 Dodge Charger.

A family service will be held in the Gulf of Mexico. No flowers needed, we live in Florida. Instead, if you would like to make a memorial gift please consider Boy Scout Troop 41, c/o First Congregational Church, 535 Forest Ave, Glen Ellyn, IL 60137 ( or FOP Lodge #2, PO Box 272, Lawrence, KS 66044 (

Most importantly, please share your memories of Doug at
Funeral Home
Shikany's Bonita Funeral Home
28300 So. Tamiami Tr.
Bonita Springs, FL 34134
(239) 992-4982
Funeral Home Details
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Published in Lawrence Journal-World on Jan. 6, 2019
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