Nelson, Wilford O., Jr. (Deceased)
Bill was born on August 21, 1921, in American Fork, Utah. Following in his father’s footsteps, he became an employee of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Bill attended Brigham Young University and graduated in wildlife management from Utah State University. He was a veteran of World War II, leaving the military as a First Lieutenant. Except for short summer work with the U.S. Forest Service, Bill spent his entire career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He began his career working on a cooperative antelope recovery program between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the State of Utah on the West Desert in Utah. Bill served as assistant state supervisor for Arizona; opened an office in Manhattan, Kansas; and became state supervisor for Oklahoma and Kansas in Oklahoma City. He later became a regional supervisor in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He moved to Washington, D.C., and was appointed assistant division chief. One of the highlights of living in Washington, D.C., was being elected a member of the Washington Biologists’ Field Club in 1963, meeting the distinguished members, and feasting on the delicious food. Many enjoyable times were spent on the Island with his family. Bill spent his last ten years working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as the regional director for the Southwest Region with headquarters in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He helped pioneer the whooping crane recovery project between Grays Lake, Idaho, and the Bosque del Apache Refuge in New Mexico. Also during these years, he completed the residential course at the Federal Executive Institute at Charlottesville, Virginia, as a member of the Senior Executive Service. Bill was appointed chairman of the Federal Executive Board for New Mexico by President Gerald Ford in a White House ceremony in 1976. Bill was a leader in hiring minorities and women into the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. For example, he hired the first female federal law enforcement agent in Houston, Texas. With the inspiration of her father, Bill’s eldest daughter became the first female district manager of the Bureau of Land Management. Bill married JoEllen Richins during World War II, while on a furlough in 1942. They have three daughters, five grandsons, and one great granddaughter. After retiring in Albuquerque in 1980, Bill and his wife JoEllen moved to Twin Falls, Idaho, to be close to their grandchildren. Bill’s wife JoEllen died on May 9, 2001. They were married for almost 59 years. Bill has been a non-resident member of the Washington Biologists’ Field Club since he left the Washington, D.C., area. Bill died January 14, 2015, in Portland, Oregon.