Arthur (Art) Lee Nelson, U.S. Army Air Force veteran and retired Eastern Air Lines captain, entered into the glory of God’s Heaven on April 26, 2017. He died peacefully in hospice care at Northeast Georgia Medical Center.

Art was born, July 4, 1921, to Charles Arthur and Edna Adair Lyles Nelson in Kansas City, Mo., and grew up in his hometown of Houston, Mo.

He was predeceased by his father and mother; his brother, Lt. Col. Lyles Nelson; his grandson, Clute Barrow Nelson of Athens, Ga.; and grandson, Reid Galey of Minneapolis, Minn. In high school, he was a starter for his school’s “dream” team that won the Missouri state championship in 1938.

Following his high school graduation, he attended the Southwest Missouri State Teachers College in Springfield, Mo., from 1939 to 1940 and was president of his freshman class.

Like many of his generation, Art left college to join the military initially as a member of the infantry and became a company clerk before learning about the opportunity to train in flight school. After receiving his honorable discharge from the Army, he trained to be a pilot in the Army Air Corps. He eventually became the captain of a B-17 bomber and flew 50 missions out of North Africa into Italy, Sicily and Germany, logging twice as many missions as required.

After the war, he signed on with the newly created Eastern Air Lines and served as a pilot/captain for 36 years, and worked until 1981 when mandatory guidelines required pilots to retire at the age of 60. While with Eastern, he met the love of his life, Elizabeth (Beth) Clute Lainhart, whom he married Sept. 22, 1947.

Art and Beth were longtime members of College Park Presbyterian Church in College Park, GA beginning in 1948 and continued their membership through 2005, where they nurtured their Christian faith and that of their family. Art served the church as a Sunday School teacher and a deacon.

He was an honorable, trusting, hard-working man of few words, but he spoke forthrightly when he felt he had something to say. He was a good friend, a devoted husband, and wonderful father, and he based his life’s journey on his trust in God.

He loved the outdoors, traveling, sports and exercise, but golf was his passion. If he wasn’t playing the game, he was watching it, and he enjoyed hitting the links until he was 92 and only quit because he just couldn’t hit it as far as he wanted to.

He is survived by his wife, Beth Nelson; son, Terry Nelson and wife, Linda, of Albuquerque, N.M.; Don Nelson and wife, Phyllis, of Athens, Ga.; daughter, Lee Ann Weeks of Athens, Ga.; grandchildren, Arthur Lee Nelson of Athens, Ga., Jennifer Weeks Peaster and husband, Jeremy, of Dallas, Ga., Ashlee Elizabeth Weeks of Cumming, Ga., Ryan Galey and wife, Diana, of Bosque Farms, N.M.; granddaughter-in-law, Mary Beth Galey of Minnetonka, Minn.; and great-granddaughter-in-law, Jenna de La Rosa-Galey of Bosque Farms, N.M. Lanier Village Estates Chaplain Richard Evans and Rev. Lee Koontz of First Presbyterian Church Gainesville co-officiated a memorial service at 2 p.m., Tuesday, May 2, in the chapel at Lanier Village Estates, 4000 Village View Dr. in Gainesville, Ga. A reception will follow in the auditorium adjacent to the chapel.

In lieu of flowers, friends are asked to make a donation to the Clute Barrow Nelson Life Foundation (, 320 Milledge Heights, Athens, Ga., 30606 or to a favorite charity.

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