Legal 04

C. David Nelson

October 6, 1941 ~ July 19, 2023 (age 81) 81 Years Old


C. David Nelson, 81, of Harrisburg died Wednesday, July 19, 2023.

He is survived by three children, Heather (Kenny) Rea, Jesse (Rebecca Blomer) Nelson, and Kate Nelson; four grandchildren, Cassie, Fara, Alexander, and Ramona; three brothers, Ronald, Donald, and Stephen; and many nieces, nephews, and friends. David was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 41 years, Mona (Adams) Nelson, and by his brother Roger.

Charles David Nelson was born on October 6, 1941, in his family’s home on Lincoln Street in Harrisburg. His parents were the late Charles Homer Nelson and Virginia Imogene (Wiggins) Nelson. David attended public schools in Harrisburg until he was awarded an academic scholarship to Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire, for 11th and 12th grades. David then attended Harvard University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in 1964.

After graduating from Harvard, David attended grad school at New York University before enlisting in the Peace Corps to teach English at an all-girls school in Nigeria. Upon returning to the United States, David hitch-hiked across the country, eventually landing near Taos, New Mexico, where he helped establish the Lama Foundation, a commune and spiritual community that still exists today. After leaving Taos, David drifted westward, living for a time in Berkeley, California.

Returning home to Harrisburg, David founded the Crisis Intervention Center, which provided assistance to people experiencing issues due to substance use. Realizing that what many of them needed most was a lawyer, he enrolled in the charter class of Southern Illinois University School of Law, where he was the Student Bar Association President, graduating in 1976.

After law school, David clerked for the Fifth District Appellate Court and then went into private practice in Harrisburg. He was appointed Associate Judge by the First Circuit in 1984, a position he held until his retirement from the bench in 1999. David went back into private practice until he was elected Saline County State’s Attorney in 2004, serving one term before pursuing semi-retirement.

Since then, David spent his time enjoying his passions: books, travel, nature, the Los Angeles Dodgers, live music, good Scotch, and his family and friends. Most of all, he loved his wife, Mona, from whose untimely death in 2016 he never truly recovered. ­­

David’s family will be receiving guests at Stricklin Funeral Home in Harrisburg from 3-6pm on Saturday, July 22.  In lieu of flowers, David would appreciate donations to Friends of Bell Smith Springs by way of the Shawnee Park and Climate Alliance, at or envelopes will be available at the funeral home.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of C. David Nelson, please visit our floral store.

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July 22, 2023

3:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Stricklin Funeral Home, Inc.
503 East Sloan Street
Harrisburg, IL 62946


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