Dr. Clarence T. Nelson, whose Lutheran church was among the first to be intergrated in Washington died Thursday of cancer. He was 73.
Dr. Nelson was pastor of the Augustana Lutheran Church at New Hampshire Avenue and V Street NW. In 1950, he started a pioneer project called, "Operation One Mile." which sought to attract new church members from an area within a mile of the church.
Because the community around the church was interracial, the church membership soon reflected that and it has remained that way ever since.
Dr. Nelson was born in 1904 in Minneapolis, Minn. He graduated from the University of Minnesota and the Augustana Theological Seminary in Rock Island, III.
Ordained in 1928, his first pastorate was at Mt. OLivet and Tabor Parish in Minneapolis. He served in Arlington Hills . St. Paul. Holy Trinity, and Buluth. Minn, before moving to Washington.
In 1961, Dr. Nelson a Protestant Fellowship in Dharban, Saudi Arabia. After four years there, he served as pastor of the English, speaking Lutheran in Minneapolis in 1971 and was active in a mission to American Indians. At the time of his death, he retired but was working as part-time assistant to the chaplain of the Augustana Home for the Aged in Minneapolis.
Dr. Nelson is survived by a wife, Ruth, of Minneapolis; two sons, the Rev. Jonathan Nelson, of Seattle. Washington, and the Rev. David Nelson, of Chicago: two daughters. Mary Nelson, of Chicago and Mrs. Walter Lempp. of Stuttgart, Germany; three foster children. Mrs Win Johnson of Geneva. Ill., Elsie Gibson of Washington, and Dr. Paul T. M. King of Taipei, Taiwan; a brother, Dr. Clifford Nelson, of Minneapolis, Minn.; and 17 grandchildren.