Glenn William “Bird” Nelson, Jr.

Glenn William (Bird) Nelson Jr., 87, passed away on Friday, June 21, 2024.   He was born in Marysville, Kansas, on June 26, 1936, and had been a peninsula resident since 1940.  Bird was a graduate of Newport News High School, Class of 1954, and Newport News Shipbuilding Apprentice School, Class of 1959.  He was a member of Northside Christian Church, a member of Bremond Masonic Lodge 241 for over 60 years, a member of Peninsula Sports Club, and retired from Newport News Shipbuilding as a designer in 1998.

Bird was an avid sports enthusiast dating back to his high school and Apprentice school days, where he excelled on the basketball court.  It is there that he earned the nickname “Bird” from his coach for his ability to jump and hang in the air like a bird. This name stuck with him his entire life.  Bird enjoyed playing golf with his beloved friends and spent his retirement traveling extensively.  He and his wife traveled the globe from Europe to Asia as well as cruising the Caribbean and hitting the strip of Las Vegas with their dear circle of friends.  He loved taking his grandchildren to Busch Gardens and Disney World, where he indoctrinated them in the art of roller coaster riding as well as showering them with all the desserts they could eat.  He was a friend to all and loved by many.

Bird was preceded in death by his parents, Glenn W. and Aurea H. Nelson.  He is survived by his wife, Ruth C. Nelson; two sons, Timothy W. Nelson and his wife Anne of Montpelier, Virginia, and Stephen C. Nelson and his husband Peter Vitale of Avon, North Carolina; stepdaughter Leslie George and her husband Chris of Williamsburg and stepson, Paul Wilson and his wife Melissa, of Hampton; nine grandchildren: Timothy Nelson and his wife Emily of Round Hill Virginia, Laura Nelson of Portsmouth, and Maria Nelson of Virginia Beach, Roy Nelson of Denver, Colorado, A.J. Nelson of St. Paul, Minnesota and Sam Nelson of Bozeman, Montana, Ella George of Williamsburg, and Isabelle and Abagail Wilson of Hampton; and one great-grandson, Timothy Glenn “Tripp” Nelson of Round Hill, Virginia.

A Celebration of Life will be held on Wednesday, July 3, 2024, at 6:00 p.m. at Peninsula Funeral Home.  Memorials may take the form of contributions to Northside Christian Church and the Peninsula SPCA.

The family would like to thank the staff at Riverside Hospital for their exceptional care.  We especially appreciate the Hospice Team, Flavia Kostov, M.D., and Chittaranjan Chandrasekhar, M.D.

Arrangements are under the care of Peninsula Funeral Home, 11144 Warwick Blvd., Newport News, VA 23601.


  1. Joyce Good D'Bene

    He was a very dear friend of my husband “Bud” D’Bene. He has joined his dear from school and forever. “Bird” was a wonderful man and always kept you laughing. Bud thought so much of him. When Bud, Bobby Jones and Bird Nelson got together that was something. A lot of laughs. My heart goes out to you and the children because it has been hard in losing my “Bud” in 2022. My blessings to all of you. Mrs. Joyce G. D’Bene

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