Archie William Nelson was born on September 19, 1924 to John and Frances (Anderson) Nelson in Wildrose, North Dakota. Archie was raised in and attended school in Alamo North Dakota, graduating in 1942. Archie was active in all sports and loved to regale the family in memories of his sporting exploits, especially being an All-State point guard and finishing in third place in the state basketball tournament in Minot, North Dakota in 1941 during his senior year. Following graduation, Archie moved to Burlington, Washington to join his family, who moved to Burlington in May, 1941. Shortly after moving to Burlington Archie was introduced to the love of his life, Josephine (Jo) Conner by his younger brother Ray, who had met Jo in high school in Burlington.
Archie then joined the United States Navy in 1944. He and Jo were married in Oceanside California on April 15, 1944, a week before he was deployed to the Pacific Theater on the island of Tinian during World War II. Archie served 17 months in the navy as a radioman before returning home to his beloved wife Shortly thereafter Archie and his brother Ray leased a farm in Edison and started a dairy farm, milking Holstein and Guernsey dairy cows, and beginning to raise his family.
In 1951 Archie and Ray and their families moved to Redmond, Washington, in the Sammamish Valley and began a partnership with Ralph James of Bellevue and operated one of the largest dairy farms in Western Washington, known as York Farms. Archie and Ray developed a very fine herd of Holstein cows and bulls and also started an artificial breeding company with some other dairy farmers known as Century Sires. York Farms exhibited their cattle at shows throughout the northwest and earned many honors and awards, including an All American Bull, known as York Farms Ormsby Posch.
This partnership lasted until 1964 until a tragic car accident claimed the life of Archie and Jo’s son Greg and mortally injured their oldest son Randy. Following this accident Archie and Ray sold Century Sires to All West Breeders in Burlington and Archie and Jo moved their family to Burlington, to a home on the same property where Archie’s family settled in 1941. Archie then went to work for All West Breeders as a sire analyst, and shortly thereafter was named General Manager.
Archie, along with a great crew of board members and dedicated staff built a troubled, small All West Breeders, into All West/Select Sires, which is now the largest and according to him the “best damn A.I. organization in the West”.
Archie was a nationally recognized dairy cattle judge, having judged numerous local, state, and national and international dairy shows. He had the distinct honor of judging the Central National Holstein Show in 1976 which is known to be the biggest and best dairy show in the United States. He also judged the Australian National Holstein show in Melbourne, in 1981. He was a lifetime member of the National Holstein Association, the Washington State Holstein Association, and the national and state Purebred Dairy Cattle Association. Archie was inducted into the Washington State Purebred Dairy Cattle Association “Hall of Fame” in 1984. He was also named “Mr. Holstein” by the Washington State Holstein Association in 1981.
Archie was a longtime member of the St. Charles Catholic Church in Burlington, and was a founding member of the Burlington Rotary Club, having served as its President in 1982-83.
Archie is survived by Jo, his loving wife of 68 years, his daughter, Janie Van Wieringen and her husband David and their children Randy and Katie, Randy’s wife Lynn Van Wieringen, and their children Kayla, Justin Archie, Hailey, and Ellie; and Katie’s husband Wesley Curtis and their children Karli and Bailey. Archie is also survived by his son Eric, his fiancé’ Sharlotte and Eric’s children Kristin, Kent and Isaac; and his son Todd and his children Greg and Taylor, and Todd’s wife Julie and her daughter Sara. Archie is also survived by his sister Alma and her husband Elvin Olson, his sister-in-law Donna Nelson, as well as Tosha Nelson and Marie Wallace, along with many nieces and nephews.
In addition to his parents and his sons Greg and Randy, Archie was preceded in death by his sister Marion Arnold, his brothers Raymond and Vernon, and an infant grandson, Conner Wallace Nelson.
The family would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to the staff and nurses at Life Care Center in Sedro Woolley for the loving care they gave “pops” in his last days.
A viewing of Archie will be held at the Hulbush Funeral Home in Burlington on Friday, November 2 from 1:00-5:00 p.m. A funeral mass will be held at St. Charles Catholic Church in Burlington at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 3rd, followed by a reception at the church. Interment will be held at the Cedar Lawn Cemetery in Redmond, Wa. at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday November 3rd where he will be laid to rest next to his beloved sons Randy and Greg.
Memorials are suggested to be sent to Children’s Hospital in Seattle, the Washington State Holstein Youth Association, or the St. Charles Catholic Church Building Fund.