Jackie Ross Nelson, 74, passed away with family by his side after a long illness on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Riverton, Wyoming. Ironically, he lost his daddy on the same day years previous.
Jackie was born on Thursday, March 13, 1947, in Moab where he grew up as the son of Weston O. and Betty Jean (Somerville) Nelson. Jackie was the start of a family tradition of birthdays on March 13 in the family, three of which fall on Friday the 13th. He is the eldest son of seven children: sisters, Clistie Tucker and Dena Wood; and brothers, Kenny, Kevin, Craig and deceased baby brother Nolan Nelson. He lost his father to a trucking accident at the young age of 16. Growing up, Jackie loved to be with his grandparents on their ranch and to be with his childhood dog, Peewee.
Following school, Jackie attended Diesel Mechanic School and Job Corps in Denver before he was drafted into the United States Army. While serving during the Vietnam War, his orders were changed when boarding the plane and he was sent to Germany instead. He was a specialized diesel mechanic and occasional cook for his fellow soldiers. This is where he learned to make his family’s famous burritos! He also made great chili and a mean beef stew and biscuits and gravy. It was only during a blue moon he would cook.
At one point during this time—which many do not know—he was in the movie Rio Conchos, which was filmed around Moab, as an extra. His scene was later cut, but his children still consider him their movie star.
On March 13, 1974, (his 27th birthday, so he would remember the date) Jackie married Patricia Ann (Olson) Anders in Moab. During their 20 years of marriage, the couple welcomed three children—Kimberly, DeAnna, and Jackie Joe—and later divorced in 1994.
During Jackie’s career, he worked in an underground mine in the Moab area and in a uranium mine. He followed the oil fields to Riverton, Wyoming, and made it his home in 1984. Mr. Nelson worked for 50+ years as a derrick hand; it was his favorite place to be, high up in the air where he could look out for miles. In 1992, Parker Rig 202 caught fire with him in the derrick, which was a very scary time for all of his family. He also was a driller but didn’t like all the paperwork. Other companies he worked for included H & P, Cyclone, Sauers and Grey Wolf as well as Unit Drilling, SST, and Parker Drilling. There were plenty more companies, too many to name them all. He traveled many miles all over Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Texas to provide for his family, retiring in 2007 due to medical reasons.
Jackie enjoyed rides on his side-by-side, dirt bikes, fast cars and motorcycles. He was known as a fearless adrenaline junkie. He enjoyed camping, hunting, fishing and playing darts and pool with his family and friends, making jewelry, woodworking and spending time with friends and family—especially his great-granddaughter, Blaiklinn, who was born on Jackie’s 73rd birthday on Friday, March 13, 2020 as the fifth child and only girl born on this day in his family.
He was the ultimate greaser and urban cowboy. He was the very strong silent type, but solid as a rock, was an avid jokester, and always trying to tickle or wrestle around. His favorite and beloved animals include: his childhood dog, Peewee Cutie Pie, who lived to the ripe old age of 16 after Jackie got her as a puppy a year before Kimberly was born; Cocheese (Cheeso) was given to Jackie by his mother, Betty, who raised poodles and Maltese puppies; his horse, Ceta, and her foal, Lightning, given to Jackie Joe as a child; and two cats: Tigger and his beloved Sasha who was at his bedside when he passed.
He is survived by his daughter Kimberly (Duane) Raymond of Riverton and grandchildren Brittinie (J.J.) Crichton and BreAnna (Justin Root) Raymond; his daughter DeAnna (Dustin McLaughlin) Nelson of Riverton and grandchildren Dakota (Austen Wells) Nelson of Newcastle, Wyoming, Weston McLaughlin and Kylee McLaughlin of Riverton; his son Jackie Joe (Shylo) Nelson and grandchildren, Serienty and Stella, all of Riverton; two great-grandchildren, Braydyn and Blaiklinn Crichton of Riverton; his brothers, Kenny Nelson, Kevin (Darleen) Nelson and Craig (Mary) Nelson; his sisters, Clistie (Ward)Tucker and Dena Wood; his uncle, Sam Somerville, and his aunt, Carol (Jeanine Somerville) Long; along with numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and extended family and friends.
He was preceded in death by his grandparents; his parents, Weston Nelson and Betty Nelson Scarlett; his step-father, Wayne Scarlett; his brother, Nolan Nelson; his nephew, Weston Wood; and his granddaughter, Brenna Ann Nelson.