Anthony Alexis “Papa Bear” Nelson
October 13, 1941 – November 01, 2019
( I like to believe that he greeted a bewildered God with a big bear hug. Then he handed God a little lollipop. -- IowaScribe.)
Anthony “Papa Bear” Nelson, 78, passed away peacefully at Life Care of Westminster, Colorado, on Friday, November 01, 2019, due to complications concerning long-standing health challenges.
He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on October 13, 1941, to Helena Madison and Grady Nelson, but grew up in foster care.
Papa Bear was very resilient. With his medical issues and growing up in foster care, he still described himself as “the luckiest man I know.”
Many close friends became his family. A person’s smile would warm his heart. He never met a stranger.
Papa Bear was best known as a person who could make a connection with anyone. He would listen, make someone feel at ease and loved, and wouldn’t hesitate to say he was proud of you. He wasn’t afraid to show his emotions with people from all walks of life, and he did this as a cab driver for Metro Taxi and later as a vendor near Coors Stadium on the Wynkoop Walkway at Rockies baseball games.
He was easily recognized as he navigated the walkway on his motorized mobility scooter, now replacing his Goldwing motorcycle that he used to call his “legs.” He has now rounded third base and headed Home.
Papa Bear had a quick wit, could embellish a good story, wrote poetry and prose, was skilled in cribbage and poker, loved jazz and the blues, enjoyed a good debate, and shared his insights, wisdom and intuition. He remained positive even in poor health and was considered a legend to all who met him.
Papa Bear loved his cats, anyone’s dog, and children. As a large man, he often commented that small children were not afraid to approach him and extend their arms to him for a bear hug.
He is preceded in death by his parents, an older sister, Juanita, several aunts and uncles, his ex-wife, Carolyn, and his loving foster parents, John T. and Nicholas Spencer.
He is survived by his loving Mama Bear, Barbara Jones. She was his loyal advocate and companion for 31 years. He called his Mama Bear “Bulldog” because she became his voice as his health declined.
Papa Bear is survived by his children: sons Jarrod (Teri) Nelson of Blaine, Minnesota and Gabriel (Kate) Nelson of Belle Plaine, Minnesota, daughter Kirsten Eigenfeld of Nashville, Tennessee, and like-a-daughter: Amanda Hutson (Brian) of Castle Rock, Colorado, Vanessa Kelly (Ron Chapel) of Ciudad de Guanajuato, Mexico, Abbey Niver (Gregory) of Arvada, Colorado, and Mary Jane Rafferty (Jim) of Amelia Island, Florida. Grandchildren: Jaden, Roman, Naomi, and Taylor Nelson, Nathan Eigenfeld, Morgan, and Hunter Hutson, and Teagan and Luke Niver.
A memorial service and Celebration of Life will be held at St. James Episcopal Church, 8235 West 44th Ave., Wheat Ridge, Colorado 80033, on Friday, November 22, 2019, at 2:00 P.M.
The service will be directed by Rebecca Jones, Priest in Charge, the woman Papa Bear called his “Sky Pilot.”
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Colorado State Foster Parent Association (CSFPA), 2497 Fenton St., Edgewater, CO 80214 or www.csfpa.org or an animal shelter of your choice.