Richard J Nelson

Cpl. Richard “Ricky” Nelson, 23, of Kenosha, passed away on Monday, April 14th, 2008, in Al Anbar, Iraq.
Born on September 4, 1984, he was the son of Lennie and Susan (Mercier) Nelson. Ricky was a lifelong Kenosha resident and graduated from Christian Life High School in 2003.

On April 21, 2007, he married Kristen Fedler in Winthrop Harbor, IL.
Ricky was enlisted in the U.S. Marines Reserves Fox Company on June 13, 2003.
He was currently employed with the Cornerstone Construction Company in Kenosha.
Ricky was a member of the First Assembly of God and was an active leader of the Royal Rangers children’s program at the church. He was an outdoorsman enjoying fishing, hunting, and camping. He was an avid Green Bay Packer fan but first and foremost was very family orientated.

Survivors include his wife, Kristen of Kenosha; his parents, Lennie and Susan Nelson of Pleasant Prairie; five brothers and one sister, Scott (Anna Lisa) Nelson of Wheatland, WI, David (Rindy) Nelson of Bothel, WA, Todd (Marisela) Nelson of Shakopee, MN, Mark (Corey) Nelson of Milwaukee, WI, Katie (Alan) Anzalone of Racine, WI, and James (Yenni) Nelson of Kenosha; his maternal grandmother, Edith Mercier of Pleasant Prairie; 14 nieces and nephews; and several aunts, uncles and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Leonard and Katherine Nelson, and his maternal grandfather, Vernon Mercier.

Visitation will be held on Wednesday, April 23rd, at Proko Funeral Home from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. The funeral service will be held on Thursday at First Assembly of God at 11:00 a.m. with a visitation at First Assembly of God from 10:00 a.m. until the time of the service. Interment will be held at the Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery with full military honors immediately after the service.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made out to the Cpl. Richard Nelson Scholarship Fund through Christian Life School.
Proko Funeral Home & Crematory
5111-60th Street
Kenosha, WI 53144
Phone: (262) 654-3533
Visit Ricky’s Online Memorial Book at:
www.prokofuneralhome.com

Cpl. Richard J. Nelson, 23, of Racine, Wisconsin, was killed April 14 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq. He was assigned to Marine Forces Reserve’s 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, Milwaukee, Wis.

23, of Racine, Wis.; assigned to Marine Forces Reserve’s 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, Milwaukee; died April 14 while conducting combat operations in Anbar province, Iraq. Also killed was Lance Cpl. Dean D. Opicka.


2 Marines killed, 1 wounded in Iraq bombing

The Associated Press

MILWAUKEE — Two Wisconsin Marines were killed and a third wounded in Iraq on Monday. All three belonged to Milwaukee-based Fox Company.

Staff Sgt. Cliff Turley, public affairs officer for the Marine Reserve unit, said a single roadside bomb killed 23-year-old Cpl. Richard Nelson of Kenosha and 29-year-old Lance Cpl. Dean Opicka, a Casco native and graduate of Carroll College in Waukesha. The Pentagon listed Opicka’s address as Waukesha.

Turley said the explosion also wounded 21-year-old Lance Cpl. David Doyle of Racine, but Doyle was expected to stay in Iraq and return to duty.

The deaths were the first during Fox Company’s second tour in Iraq. Five members were killed during a deployment in 2004-2005.

Nelson’s mother, Susan Nelson, said she was informed that her son was killed by an improvised bomb in Anbar province, and military officials offered no other details.

He was the second youngest of her seven children, she said. Survivors include five brothers and a sister.

He served in Iraq before but had gotten married a year ago Monday and wasn’t looking forward to going back for this tour, his mother said.

“He knew what was waiting for him there,” she said.

Nelson loved to hunt and fish and watch Green Bay Packer games, she said. He idolized Packers quarterback Brett Favre and even called home the day Favre retired last month.

“He told me, ‘Mom, tell me the news isn’t true. Tell me Brett Favre hasn’t retired.’ He wanted to hold onto the memories he left.”

He and his wife, Kristen, planned to start their own family when he got home, Susan Nelson said. He also planned to go to college and become an elementary school teacher.

“He just loved kids,” she said.

The last time they’d seen him in person was Christmas, when the whole family was together, she said. Her husband, Lennie, a Vietnam veteran, was taking the news of his son’s death “terrible,” she said.

But she wasn’t angry with President Bush, insisting Bush doesn’t want to see men die and the public doesn’t have all the information about what’s going on in Iraq.

“When you send a child off to war … things happen,” she said. “Nothing goes by God without him giving permission. I believe something good is going to come from it. I don’t know what that is yet, but my husband and I have faith. I’ll understand it someday, just not now.”

Opicka graduated from Luxemburg-Casco High School in 1997 and is the third graduate of the school to die in the Iraq war. He played quarterback for the football team and point guard for the basketball team.

At Carroll College, he played baseball and graduated in May 2002 with a double major in psychology and history, said college spokeswoman Claire Beglinger.

He later returned to Carroll, completing a teaching certification in spring of 2005, and taught in the Milwaukee area before being deployed to Iraq.

Steve Okoniewski, principal at Luxemburg-Casco, said he met with Opicka before his deployment and the two discussed the possibility of his teaching at his old high school.

“He got called up and knew he wouldn’t be back until August,” Okoniewski said. “I would have loved to have had him back. Then his dad told me that he wouldn’t be back until November.”

Eighty-eight members of the military from Wisconsin have died in the Iraq war.


Hundreds remember Marine killed in Iraq

The Associated Press

KENOSHA, Wis. — Hundreds gathered at a local school to remember a 23-year-old Marine reservist killed in Iraq.

Cpl. Richard “Ricky” Nelson, a member of the Milwaukee-based Fox Company, died Monday by a roadside bomb in Iraq. Lance Cpl. Dean Opicka, 29, was also killed in the attack.

The memorial Friday was outside Christian Life School, where Nelson graduated in 2003 and his mother, Susan Nelson, is the administrator.

Susan Nelson said she talked to her son two days before his death.

“His faith was strong. He spoke that very clearly when we were on the phone, and he initiated that,” she said. “That’s absolutely why I’m not a wreck right now and when all the military showed up at my door.”

She was at the ceremony with her husband, Lennie, Nelson’s wife, Kristen and other family members.

Senior Tim Britzman, who organized the event, was only in the seventh grade when Nelson graduated, but said he was well remembered by a lot of students.


Marine Cpl. Richard J. Nelson remembered

The Associated Press

Richard J. Nelson lived to watch Green Bay Packer games. He idolized Packers quarterback Brett Favre and even called home the day Favre retired.

“He told me, ‘Mom, tell me the news isn’t true. Tell me Brett Favre hasn’t retired.’ He wanted to hold onto the memories he left,” said his mother, Susan Nelson.

Nelson, 23, of Racine, Wis., was killed April 14 during combat in Anbar province. He was a 2004 high school graduate and was assigned to Milwaukee.

Nelson played percussion in the school band and enjoyed hunting and fishing with his father, Leonard. He signed up for the Marine Reserves as a high school senior.

His father taught him how to do remodeling work, and he worked as a carpenter for Cornerstone Construction in Kenosha.

He and his wife, Kristen, planned to start their own family when he got home, Susan Nelson said. He also planned to go to college and become an elementary school teacher.

“When he was home, he was around a bunch of little kids. He has 14 nieces and nephews. The more he was around kids, the more he realized that’s what he wanted to do,” she said.

Help Us Honor Their Memory
Richard J Nelson - nelsonr - Richard J Nelson
Racine
04/14/2008
Age: 23
Incident Location: Anbar province, Iraq
Branch: Marines
Rank: Cpl.
Unit: Marine Forces Reserves 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division
Units Base: Milwaukee, Wisconsin