Donald W. Nelson, 81, of Troutville, died Saturday, Oct. 31, 2009. Donnie was born in Chicago, Ill., spending his boyhood days between the city and his family’s farm in Wisconsin. He joined the Merchant Marines and then the US Air Force where he retired after 25 years of service. He continued to serve his country as a civil servant drawing on his experience with airplanes. It was his love for the outdoors that drew him to his wife’s family farm in Troutville following his retirement where he worked his garden, volunteered for the VA Hospital, and bowled many years with the Old Timers league. He was preceded in death by his parents, Arthur W. and Florence Nelson; and his brother, Allen Nelson of Illinois. Surviving are his wife of 57 years, Elaine Woodrum Nelson; his children, Debra and Eric Tarburton of Kentucky, Christie and Vince LeNoir of Florida, and Mark and Sybille Nelson with Stacy Sauerbrun of Troutville; 10 grandchildren. In memory of Donnie, please give a little extra this holiday season to the Salvation Army bell ringers who held a special place in his heart. Simpson Funeral Home and Crematory handled the arrangements.