SURPRISE, AZ – Dr. Stanley A. Nelson, 88, died at his home on Sunday, August 25, 2019. He was born in the front room of a farmhouse near Turon, Kansas on August 19th, 1931. After Stan lost his father at a young age, the ensuing years were peripatetic, taking his family to Idaho and Arizona before returning to Kansas his senior year of high school. There, two important things occurred: a church youth group embraced him and his school principal encouraged him to consider college.
In 1953 Stan began his doctoral studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas where he met his wife, Norma Baird of Denver, Colorado. Over the course of his ministry, Stan spent 15 years pastoring in Texas, Kansas, and North Carolina; 15 years directing the Missionary Journeyman program for the Baptist Foreign Mission Board in Richmond, Virginia and conducting his own mission service in Ogbomosho, Nigeria where he taught theology and pastoral care; and 15 years teaching theology at Golden Gate (now Gateway) Baptist Theological Seminary in San Francisco. There Stan published A Believers’ Church Theology and spent several sabbaticals at Regent’s Park College, Oxford University, Oxford, England.
The Nelsons retired to Sun City Grand in Surprise, Arizona in 1998 and were members of the First Baptist Church of Sun City West. Stan taught Sunday school there for twenty years and presided over the “Latte Club,” an informal theological discussion group and fertile source of continued learning.
The New Testament given to him in his youth by his paternal Grandmother contained an exhortation written on the flyleaf, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightley dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV). The legions of students, friends and family who had the privilege of knowing Stan can testify to the profound commitment of his life to this endeavor.
He is survived by his children, Lisa Nelson of Surprise and James Nelson and his wife Melanie Taylor of Brooklyn, New York. He is predeceased by his wife Norma and parents Opal and James Nelson. The family thanks Hospice of the Valley for their compassionate care. A witness of faith service will be held at the First Baptist Church of Sun City West in the autumn.