Peter Nelson

November 3rd, 2017

Attorney Peter Nelson, age 71, of Wilmington, passed away on November 2, 2017.

Peter is survived by his beloved wife, Karen Shine Nelson, with whom he enjoyed golf, travel, cooking and entertaining. He also leaves his two children: his dear son Matthew Nelson of Wilmington and his daughter Elizabeth Maas of NY. Although an only child of the late Arthur and Winifred (Pirie) Nelson, Peter was part of a large clan of countless cousins. He will be missed by his best friend, Bob Horner of Milford and his buddies at the Middlesex Central Model Railroad Club in Westford.

Born in Malden, he often shared stories of his childhood years there. One of Peter’s favorite memories of Malden was a Thanksgiving dinner at Peter Pelosi’s grandmother’s house, Mrs. Guiffre, when he was a teen. Mrs. Guiffre always had a big pot of “gravy” on the stove, and Peter was looking forward to a great meal. He described the many courses which kept appearing – the escarole soup, the stuffed artichokes, the ravioli and meatballs, and how he filled his plate and stuffed himself . . . and then to his surprise the turkey came out of the kitchen along with a full traditional American Thanksgiving dinner. A teenage boy’s delight!

Peter could be a bit contrary, and loved a good debate based on principle. Therefore, when his version of the history of the Merrimack & the Monitor, early ironclad ships in the most important battle of the American Civil War, varied from the high school teacher’s version, “strong words were said” and Peter could not graduate with the Malden High School class of 1964. His parents Arthur & Winnie, of modest means, had to fork over the funds to Newman prep to complete Peter’s high schooling.

After Malden High School & Newman prep, Peter attended Northeastern University studying engineering before joining the Navy. He was injured in a car accident while on duty, spent a year in Memphis Naval Hospital and Chelsea Soldiers Home, and when declared disabled was honorably discharged in 1970. This allowed him to afford Windham College in Putney, Vermont from which he graduated with a degree in history.

Peter then attended a graduate program in history at University of California at Santa Barbara, and transferred to the University of Miami Law School, from which he graduated with a JD.

He spent most of his career as a commercial real estate development attorney in Boston working for Cabot, Cabot & Forbes and Bulfinch Development, and later served in other roles at Lahey Clinic research, the FDIC and the IRS.

One of the great joys of his life was the camaraderie he enjoyed on the “lads weekends” sailing out of Tiverton, Rhode Island with Frank Spain, Larry Antin, Todd Anderson and Geoffrey Smyth, all of whom pre-deceased him and for whom Peter never ceased an accumulated mourning for them. His wife Karen was glad that he always sailed OPB (other peoples’ boats) and that they didn’t own one.

Family and friends will gather for Visitation at the Nichols Funeral Home, Inc., 187 Middlesex Ave., (Rte. 62), Wilmington on Monday, November 6th from 11:00 – 1:00 p.m., followed by a Funeral Service with Military Honors at 1:00 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, Memorial Donations in Peter’s name may be made to Care Dimensions, 75 Sylvan Street, B-102, Danvers, MA 01923.


4 Entries in Guest Book for “Peter Nelson”

  1. Ron & Elisa Allen says:

    Our deepest sympathy to you and your family for your loss. My first memory of Peter was when he welcomed us to the neighborhood and offered his help if we needed anything. He was always nice to us and we enjoyed having him as our neighbor. May he also be remembered as a veteran who served his country with honor.

    Ron & Elisa

  2. Gene & Janet Nelson says:

    We were shocked and deeply saddened to learn of Peter’s untimely demise. We remember Pete as a mild mannered, caring person…one of the quieter cousins of the very close Nelson clan. Appears from his obit that he did indeed live a very active and interesting life. He will be missed.

  3. Peter L, Pelosi says:

    We were friends for a lifetime beginning school in the same first grade so many years ago. The ups and downs of each of our lives intertwined many times over the years. Peter was a gentleman. A kind and generous man throughout his life. He was a life ally I could always count on. Looking back it is hard to fathom just how poor we were, it didn’t seem that way at all. I remember how we would hope for piles of snow so we could have a day off from school to go out and shovel to make some money. We had no fee but accepted whatever was offered. We shoveled all day, then we would splurge some of our earnings at a Chinese restaurant. A talented mathematician, Peter wanted engineering and to become a naval architect, there was no money for that so he found alternatives and made his life after his stint in the Navy. He was funny and smart, and as solidly trustworthy as anyone I have ever known. I will miss him as part of my own life is gone. I wish his family the best thoughts I can muster through this sad time.

  4. Mary Dingeldein says:

    Oh Karen, this news shocked me – was Peter sick? You two were so good to my brother Frank through the years, and he was so fond of you. Those sailing days were among the highlights of Frank’s life. He was fortunate to count Peter among his friends. Peter was a gem, and I’m sure you will miss him sorely.

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