Norman Nelsen was born the only child of Martin and Eda Bertha Nelsen on Oct. 15, 1918 in Kansas City, Missouri. He was an Eagle Scout and graduated from Paseo High School in 1935. He then went to Kansas City Junior College, where he attended until he started full time employment as a second-generation family member at Southwest Ornamental Iron Company in 1937.
Norman served in the US Army Infantry Division during World War II. He married Dorothy Todd in 1944 and they resided in Leawood, Kansas for many years. They had two sons, Craig Nelsen born in 1947 and Kirk Nelsen born in 1956.
In 1910, Norman's father Martin (Mike) Nelsen formed Southwest Wire and Iron Works in Kansas City, Mo. In 1928 the name was changed to Southwest Ornamental Iron Company and then in 1983 changed again to Southwest Steel Fabricators. In 1954 Norman became the President and CEO. Southwest Steel Fabricators had two plants: one in Bonner Springs, Kansas, and another in Pittsburg, Kansas (Pittsburg Steel and Manufacturing Co.). Between the two plants, the companies produced fabricated miscellaneous and structural steel products for the nationwide construction industry. Among some of its completed projects are fossil coal power plants, nuclear power plants, hydroelectric power plants, bridges, architectural buildings, missile launch towers at Cape Kennedy and Vandenberg Air Force Bases, ICBM missile sites, coal preparation plants, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, White House gates in Washington, D.C., and many others.
Norman was on the Board of Directors of the Commercial State Bank, President of National Trade Association, member of Young Presidents Association, and has served on the Board of Directors for many community organizations. His hobbies have been golf and fishing. He and Dorothy have been members of Leawood Methodist Church, Village Presbyterian Church, and Whitney Mountain Chapel.
In 1982, he retired and, with his wife, Dorothy, moved from Leawood to their new home on Beaver Lake in Northwest Arkansas. In 2011, they returned to the Kansas City area to be closer to family. He is survived by Dorothy; son Craig and wife Caren; son Kirk and wife Rita; grandchildren Kelly Nelsen, Jamie Nelsen, Jennifer Nelsen Robertson and husband James Robertson; and two great-grandchildren: Julie Ann and James Nelsen Robertson.
Norman requested a private family service. The family recommends memorial contributions be made to the Whitney Mountain Chapel, 20650 Oak Ridge Drive, Garfield, AR 72732.
Condolences can be left at www.AraCremationKC.com under the obituary tab for Norman Nelsen.