Nelson Welch Jr

Obituary of Nelson Eldridge Welch Jr

Nelson Eldridge Welch, Jr. was born October 19, 1942 to Nelson E. (Buddy) Welch, Sr. and Lydia Pawnee Kenyon on the homeplace of his paternal grandparents, Clint and Emma (Letz) Welch, in Cedarvale, NM.  As a boy, Nelson enjoyed many summers living with and helping his grandparents.   Nelson’s father worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad and the family was frequently relocated along the line running between NM and CA, resulting in Nelson, and his older brother, Lester, attending over a dozen schools.  While living in Vaughn, NM, the family lived in a converted box car where younger brother, Wayne, was born.  Shortly thereafter, the family settled in Deming, NM where, as a sophomore at Deming High School, Nelson met the love of his life, Nina Ruth Dane. Nelson and Nina were married on August 27, 1961 and enjoyed over 62 years of marriage together.  While Nelson attended New Mexico Tech in Socorro, NM, he and Nina supported themselves through a variety of jobs to include Nelson working as a radio DJ.  After his graduation with a Bachelors in Mathematics, they moved to T or C, NM where Nelson began teaching math and physics at the local high school.  Here they welcomed their two children, Lydia Lynn and Timothy Todd.  Many lifetime friendships, that continue to be treasured today, were established.   Eventually returning to Deming, and teaching both at the Jr. High and High School, Nelson completed his Masters degree in Physics from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee by attending summer school.  In 1972, Nelson opted to change careers and attended the New Mexico State Police (NMSP) academy where he graduated as the valedictorian of his rookie class.  He was stationed out of Santa Fe, NM while on patrol for 2 years.  In 1974, Nelson transferred into the NMSP crime laboratory as a ballistics, toolmark and crime scene expert.   Nelson worked in the crime lab for 10 years before beginning his own investigative business, Crash-Bang, Inc., in 1984.  Throughout his professional career, he was respected as an expert in ballistics, toolmarks and accident reconstruction with uncompromising ethics and integrity.  He’s recognized as a lifetime member of the International Association of Firearms and Toolmark Examiners (AFTE). As such, he served on the international glossary committee, which defined the standards and outlined the formulas used by this prestigious field, to include identifying velocity as a vector.  He was the first to prove under laboratory conditions and publish data on how to match a hole made by a bullet fired from a particular gun using a spent cartridge case.   Nelson was sought out as an expert on numerous cases throughout the state of New Mexico as well as testifying in national and international cases.  Two that were most significant to him were a case out of Germany where he and an expert from Australia disagreed with the German expert regarding a ballistics identification.  The case was eventually tried in a neutral court of the Netherlands where Nelson, along with the other experts, testified and the verdict was overturned due to the evidence Nelson and the Australian expert presented.  The second was the case that was featured on the program, Forensic Files, in the episode entitled, “Within Arm’s Reach.”  These are just two instances of how Nelson positively impacted the lives and liberty of so many people throughout his career.  His byline rings in the ears of those closest to him, “The truth is the truth is the truth!”      

Nelson and Nina have been blessed with 4 grandchildren, Nathan Dean, Wesley Derek, Anna Jessie, and Muriel Lee, and 2 great-granddaughters, Brenlee and Olivia.  Much as they did with Lynn and Todd, Nelson and Nina enjoyed passing on a love of nature through multiple and varied outdoor excursions with these new generations.  Nelson always treasured and prioritized his time with family and in the past several years took up genealogy through where he’s identified thousands of familial relationships and taken great joy in sharing some of the more interesting histories and herstories with all the relatives.

 After a prolonged battle with COPD, he left us peacefully on the morning of February 16, 2024, forever a beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend. The family is having a gathering to remember his life with love and laughter from your stories and comments, although it was Nelson’s wish to forego any services.  He wanted everyone to remember him as he was and what he stood for.  In lieu of any flowers or donations it was also his wish that you do something for your loved ones instead.   The family will gather again in October to spread his ashes in Cedarvale.  

We invite everyone to also share their remembrances of Nelson here, or to email them directly to Nina and the family at Lastly, Nina and family wish to express their heartfelt gratitude to the practitioners, staff and volunteers of Bosque Trails Hospice, especially Theresa, Corey, Jacob, Kathy and Rachel.  

Gathering to remember the life of Nelson E. Welch with love and laughter from YOUR comments at Riverside Funeral Home, 225 San Mateo Blvd. NE Albuquerque,NM 87108, on Saturday, March 16, 2024, at 10:00AM. 



10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Saturday, March 16, 2024
Riverside Funeral Home of Albuquerque
225 San Mateo Blvd NE
Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
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