May 19, 1953 – April 26, 2019

John A. Nelson, 65, passed away on Friday, April 26, 2019, due to injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident in Jefferson City, Missouri. He was born on May 19, 1953, in Grand Island, Nebraska, the second son of Robert and Rose (Wells) Nelson.

John’s family moved to Sheridan in 1963, and he graduated from Sheridan High School in 1971. He joined the United States Army in 1972, graduated from Quartermaster School, then served as Supply Sergeant at the Presidio of Monterey until 1975; he attained the rank of Sergeant (E-5). While at the Presidio, John was appointed to the base Race Relations/Equal Opportunity Council. In 1974, he applied to attend the Defense Race Relations Institute to become a Race Relations/Equal Opportunity Instructor. After his service, John moved to the Boise, Idaho area where he lived for 40 years. He worked as an Information Technology manager for the State of Idaho and owned his own IT business, Data Concepts. He moved to Jefferson City, Missouri in 2013 and worked as an Information Technology Development Manager for Carfax.

John was involved in Cowboy Action Shooting for many years, first in Idaho and later in Missouri. “John Bear” was his official SASS Cowboy Action Shooting “alias”–each one unique to the person and the character he or she represents. He dressed the part in authentic western costumes, epitomized the spirit of “John Bear,” and earned recognition as a state and regional award winner in this sport.

John loved fishing, river boating, pool, cards, reloading, and marksmanship. He drove trucks, ATVs, and his beloved 2013 fire red Camaro, with classic rock and country music on the radio. He enjoyed traveling, and truly appreciated good food and good spirits. John was a proud veteran and a true friend with a compassionate, generous soul. He was widely loved and respected everywhere he lived and worked. Never hesitant to give all his heart, John was married four times. He served as an important father figure to his stepdaughters and stepsons, who he helped raise and considered as his own.

John is survived by his brother Frank (Dawn) Nelson of Calhan, Colorado; sister Juanita (Gary) Harlow of Shawmut, Montana; nieces and nephews: Seth (Stacey) Gilmore of Sheridan; Robert (Tracy) Gilmore of Billings; Scott (Cindel) Gilmore of Fruita, Colorado; Jenny Gilmore of Buffalo; Kevin Gilmore of Deadwood, South Dakota; stepchildren: Mechelle (Saul) Rivera of Powell; Cheryl Kayyali of Shawnee, Kansas; Stephanie Anderson of Meridian, Idaho; David Anderson of Ontario, Oregon; Brian Anderson of Middleton, Idaho; grandchildren Amanda Carley of Boise, Idaho; Samantha Albritton of Twin Falls, Idaho; Madalyn Deines of Boise, Idaho; Amir Kayyali of Shawnee, Kansas; Caitlin Anderson of Boise, Idaho; and best friend Bill Luckett of Sheridan. John was preceded in death by his parents: Robert and Rose Nelson.

A memorial celebration of John’s life will be held on Saturday, June 8, 2019, at 6:00 p.m., at the home of lifelong family friends Cody and Jan Quarterman in Sheridan. Call 310-944-0212 for details.