Longtime Kirkland veterinarian remembered

Kirkland veterinarian  “Skip” Nelson, 75, passed away on Feb. 18 after a lifetime of helping animals, exotic and domesticated.  - Contributed
Kirkland veterinarian “Skip” Nelson, 75, passed away on Feb. 18 after a lifetime of helping animals, exotic and domesticated.
— image credit: Contributed

Seattle veterinarian Sandy Willis remembers the time when she and Dr. W.B. “Skip” Nelson did a segment on a local radio show called “Ask a Vet.”

“He explained how to do anesthesia on a fish to remove a tumor,” said Willis. “He loved animals. He was a wonderful man and veterinarian.”

Nelson, a longtime Kirkland veterinarian, died on Feb. 18. He was 75.

He was known for his love of animals of all kinds — wild animals, domestic animals and exotic pets.

Nelson worked in his privately owned clinic before providing in-home euthanasia services in the Greater Seattle Area. Being no stranger to the Woodland Park Zoo, he was always on their speed dial in case of emergencies, according to his wife Rosemary Nelson.

Nelson was born in 1939 in Chicago. He attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and, after moving to Kirkland in 1973, he built Central Way Veterinary Clinic. It later became Exotic Pet and Bird Clinic/Kirkland Cat Care when he moved the clinic closer to home. He closed his clinic in 2008 and started House Call Euthanasia four years later.

His love for animals started early, and that was how he met his wife.

“When I was still teaching in a grade school in Seattle, he brought in a tiger cub to my class,” said Nelson. “He was always up for an adventure, surprising me all the time.”

He didn’t stop there, his wife said.

“He was such a romantic,” said Nelson. “He always brought flowers for me at school. He always knew how to sweep me off my feet. I will miss not being able to grow up with him.”

He also had a passion for practicing with his two bands: Mountain Thyme and Route 66.

Peter Blake, one of Nelson’s Mountain Thyme bandmates for more than 30 years, described him as the corniest person he ever met.

“He was such a character. I will miss his smile, and his need to tell the corniest jokes,” said Willis. “That time when the Spice Girls broke up, he told [his band mates] that he will be quitting Mountain Thyme and joining the Spice Girls. He wanted to be known as ‘Old Spice.’”

Nelson is survived by his wife and his sons Craig, Scott and Patrick Nelson, and his daughter Kirsten Mohan and his grandchildren Joely Nelson, Sacha Mohan and Julian Mohan.

Family and friends held a celebration of life at Juanita Community Club on Feb. 22 and an internment at Tahoma National Cemetery on March 7. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his honor to the Woodland Park Zoo elephant or tiger programs.

Celine Djohan is a University of Washington News Lab student and special to the Reporter.

Kirkland Veterinarian Dr. Nelson pets an elephant. CONTRIBUTED

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