NCRA has learned that Frank Nelson, FAPR, RPR (Ret.), recently passed away. A couple of his friends in court reporting have shared their memories of him, included below.
It is with deep regret that I announce one of our own has passed away. Frank O. Nelson passed away on Friday, Oct. 23, at the age of 89.
I know he was a past president of CCRA as well as NCRA. He also had his own business, Frank O. Nelson & Associates, located in Santa Barbara, Calif., for many years. (I actually don’t know how many, but I think it began in the 70s.)
He was a kind and gentle man, and he always had a wit about him. He served our court reporting community with heart, commitment, and dedication.
I have one of his plaques he gave me some time ago. It is one of his quotes. It reads, “Reporters may become extinct unless different recruiting methods are used. We must look to the mature, professionally-motivated, university-level student for recruitment of reporters.” That is still true to this day!
Years ago, Frank met with me to talk about court reporting. It was when I was in high school. I knew I wanted to become a court reporter, but then after speaking with him, I was motivated even more to fulfill that dream. He inspired me!
Frank was a good friend of mine through the years. His legacy will live on!
Frank was in every regard “Mr. Court Reporter,” who left a legacy of dedicated service to the reporting profession that shall remain forever unmatched. He and his lovely wife and best friend of many years, Edna, were fixtures at every NCRA convention as far back as I can recollect, where Frank would always greet you with a big smile and a warm handshake or hug. He and Edna knew everyone by their first names and everyone knew Frank Nelson, and well it should be.
Many things will be written about Frank Nelson upon his passing. There is no question about the significance of the huge contributions that he made to NCRA through service on endless committees, the Board of Directors, and as our President. However, there is one contribution that Frank made that absolutely bears remembering. Frank was the first court reporter ever to own and use a Computer Aided Transcription system. In every sense, he was the “Father of Computer Transcription,” in an era when most reporters didn’t believe it could even work. I really came to know Frank well during the formative years of CAT’s development and growth. I had the honor of serving as a panelist, along with Frank and Willard Braun, in presenting the very first NCRA CAT seminar, in Philadelphia. Frank’s upbeat nature played a significant role towards convincing reporters to adopt computer transcription, and in that regard Frank, changed court reporting forever.
Frank Nelson’s was a life well lived, and for that the profession of court reporting should be eternally grateful, both to Frank and to Edna, to whom Hilde and I extend our sincerest sympathy.
Marty Block, RPR (Ret.)
Punta Gorda, Fla.
Frank Nelson for many, many years was one of the brightest highlights of my association with NCRA. His old-school charm, charisma, and gentleness with colleagues endeared him to all that fell into his circle of friends.
Frank would be quick to share with you that having “Edner” as his wife and partner was one of his greatest accomplishments; and we all could agree with that as well. Frank’s love of travel and storytelling was always something we looked forward to when we had the privilege of being in his company and circle of friends.
Words cannot express how much I admired and adored Frank and how very much he will be missed by us all.
Jay Suddreth, CPE (Ret.)
It is with a heavy heart that I try to put into words what Frank Nelson and wife, Edna, meant to me over the years as a reporter — and perhaps more on a personal basis than professional, as I saw Frank Nelson as a Giant Among Men.
Frank came to my rescue more than once. I started my court reporting career as a middle-aged mother, dedicated to all things related to this goal of becoming a proficient reporter. It was with the greatest of pride that Frank accepted my invitation to come to Colorado to perform the swearing-in ceremony when I became president of the Colorado Court Reporters Association, and with even greater pride when he graciously accepted my plea to assist me and my outstanding team when confronted with a challenge to become president of NCRA several years later. I felt very fortunate to call him a friend as well as a mentor.
It goes without saying that Frank was at all times outstanding in all that he did, as his talents in working with people were unsurpassed. What his state and national presence represented to students, teachers, court reporters, and officers of the profession over the years was, is, and will remain at the top of the pinnacle.
Mary Agren, RPR-CRI-CPE (Ret)
Castle Rock, Colo.
Was the epitome
Of service with a smile
Frank O. Nelson
Was a lion
In this profession
Santa Barbara style
It was Halloween day
I read on a Facebook page
The passing away of
A wise man and a sage
Of court reporting
To live for
Dallas Ann Erwood, RDR, CRR
Indian Wells, Calif.