RICHARD “DICKIE” NELSON, III
(Dec. 11, 1933 – Feb. 27, 2022)
Richard Nelson, III, (88) passed away on February 27 in North Kona, Hawaiʻi. Known as “Dickie” to ʻohana and friends, he was born in Kālia, Oʻahu, to Richard Nelson, Jr., and Pearl Kaimookalani (Harbottle) Nelson. Dickie was raised on Oʻahu until the ʻohana moved to Maui. Dickie worked as a manager at Hawaiian Telephone for 25 years. After retiring, Dickie was the Hawaiʻi Region administrator for the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints from 1977 to 1988, serving the church ministry abroad. He also dedicated his time to serving our lāhui. He was a Department of Hawaiian Home Lands Commissioner for West Hawaiʻi from 1997 to 2001. In 2014, Hawaiʻi Island Mayor Billy Kenoi presented him with a Certificate of Appreciation for his contributions to the Leeward Planning Commission. Dickie used his skills to help Native Hawaiian leaders kickstart Hawaiian culture-based programs in their communities. His commitment to our lāhui is highlighted in his work to address the State of Hawaiʻi’s constitutional duty to sufficiently fund the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands – litigation known informally as the “Nelson Case,” as he was the lead plaintiff. When he learned, before passing away, that the legislature was considering unprecedented funding for DHHL during this session he was filled with joy. Dickie is predeceased by his beloved wife, Esther Leinaʻala (Roy) Nelson, and they left their ʻohana a legacy of aloha. He is survived by his children, Debbie Baxter, Kaimookalani Muhlestein, Napela Menor and Nakoa Nelson, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.