%T79, a retired associate pathologist at the Washington Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park and a former director of the Red Cross regional blood program in the Washington area, died of cardiac arrest April 17 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Dr. Nelson was born in Macon, Mo., and grew up in Des Moines. He graduated from Drake University and the Rush Medical College of the University of Chicago. He practiced medicine in the state of Washington, then joined the Army Medical Corps. He became a permanent resident here in 1938. Later he served in Hawaii and was chief of laboratories at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked on Dec. 7, 1941.

After working as a civilian on the staff of a hospital on the West Coast, Dr. Nelson returned here and, in 1948, he became medical director and administrator of the Red Cross blood program in Washington. In 1958, he became associate pathologist at Washington Adventist Hospital. He retired in 1977.

Dr. Nelson was a member of the American Society of Clinical Pathologists and the College of Clinical Scientists and was a fellow of the College of American Pathologists.

Survivors include his wife of 51 years, Mary F., of Washington; two sons, Douglas A., of Lookout Mountain, Tenn., and Dr. K. Eric, of Atlanta; a daughter, Kathleen Nelson of Washington; a sister, Mrs. William Ryan of Chicago, and four grandchildren.