Joseph Nelsen, 69, of Silver Springs, Florida died peacefully in his sleep on October 7, 2018. Joe was born on January 15, 1949 in Clinton, Maine to Warren and Mary (Conley) Nelsen. He attended Waterville schools and later, after the family moved, graduated from South Portland High School in 1968.
After graduation, Joe enlisted in the Air Force and was stationed in Texas. He was honorably discharged from the military in 1969.
For a short time, Joe worked as a mechanic before he began his career as a commercial truck driver handling the overnight route from Portland to Boston for Pizzo Produce for 15 years. Later in life he worked for Maine D.O.T. operating plow trucks throughout the winter and working on various road safety crews during other seasons. In retirement, Joe found a position as a boat-launch attendant, a job that was tailor-made for him and his deep love of the sea.
Joe was an avid outdoorsman and nature lover. Throughout his life, he enjoyed fishing, boating, and hunting. He spent countless hours on the ocean and took part in three successful moose hunts after winning the Maine Moose Permit Lottery a number of times.
Joe was a free spirit and loved to travel, especially by motorcycle. His Harley-Davidsons were his pride and joy. He was known to ride them up and down the East coast, stopping for visits with friends and family along the way. He also loved classic cars and restored an old ’55 Chevy pickup in his favorite color, candy-apple red.
Joe was also an excellent cook and frequently made big meals to share with his campground family at his retirement home in Florida. He regularly organized community bonfires there, and we hear that he sang karaoke to rave reviews for his Florida friends.
Joe’s most enduring legacy is the generosity and kindness he showed toward others. He was quick to lend a hand or offer helpful advice when those around him were in need. He was a friend you knew you could count on, and, with family, he always led with his heart so that you knew you were loved.
Joe was predeceased by his parents Warren Nelsen and Mary (Conley) Nelsen and his brother Peter Nelsen. He is survived by two sisters, Sue Nelsen-Kelley of Whiting, NJ, and Elaine (Nelsen) Larsen and her husband David of Portland; three daughters, Tara Nelsen-Yeackel and her husband Pete of Saco, Kym Nelsen of Piney Flats, TN, and Laura Nelsen of Denver, CO; two grandchildren, Andrew Cain of Biddeford and Brittany Cain of Portland; and several nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, cousins, two aunts, an uncle, and extended family.
Visiting hours will be held on October 13, 2018, from 4 to 6 p.m. at A.T. Hutchins Funeral Home, 660 Brighton Ave., Portland, Maine. A memorial service will commence at 6 p.m. and a reception will follow.