‘Giant of the Faith’ Lincoln Nelson Goes Home to be with the Lord

Dr. Lincoln David Nelson, 88, of Battle Creek, Mich., joyfully entered the presence of His Lord and Savior on Thursday, March 15, 2012, at the family home. He was born June 15, 1923, in North Collins, N.Y., the son of David J. Nelson and Mary Zella (Baird) Nelson.

He was a missionary doctor and ordained minister who served with ABWE, retiring in 1987. For 60 years, he performed surgeries and helped to start four hospitals in the Philippines, which in turn started more than 120 churches. 

Following his retirement, he continued doing missionary medical work in the Philippines, Ukraine, Bangladesh, Togo, the Gambia and Brazil. 

He married the former Lenore I. Butts on June 26, 1944, in Hamburg, N.Y., after completing medical school at the University of Buffalo, N.Y. As a lieutenant, junior grade, in the U.S. Navy, he served during the Korean Conflict as a U.S. Naval surgeon both in the Philippines and in Annapolis, Md. He received the American Area and the World War II Victory medals. Following his honorable discharge, Lincoln returned to the Philippines to begin his missionary career, where He lovingly served the Great Physician, Jesus Christ. His life motto was “preach the Word, and heal the sick,” taken from Luke 9:2.

He enjoyed flying, playing the piano, golf and tennis. He delighted in spending time with his five children, caring for other missionaries suffering from medical problems and writing books. He authored “With Christ in the Family”; “With Scalpel and the Sword,” about his medical missionary work; and “The Other End of the Stethoscope,” a record of his life as a patient following a paralyzing attack of meningeal encephalitis in 2006.

He was predeceased by his mother, Mary Zella (Baird) Nelson, who died Nov. 16, 1984, and his father, David J. Nelson, who died in 1989.

Dr. Nelson is survived by his wife, Lenore, who lives in Battle Creek, Mich., and his brother, Dr. James A. (Betty) Nelson of Peoria, Ariz. In addition, he is survived by five children, Linda and Stephen Conklin of Santa Maria, Calif.; David M. and Rebecca (Hull) Nelson of Battle Creek, Mich.; Sandra and Lawrence Blanchard of Fredericksburg, Texas; Michael & Sally (Ott) Nelson of Battle Creek, Mich.; and Shirley Walker of Sunderland, Md. He is also survived by eleven grandchildren, Jill (Kenny) Callahan, Traci (Jeff) LeBard, Jeffrey (Tiffany) Nelson, Joshua (Susan) Nelson, Jonathan (Jennifer) Nelson, Jennifer (Levy) Brehm, Julie Nelson, Michael Paul Nelson, Kelsey (Michael) Domeny, Ashlee Walker, and Amy Walker, and 14 great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be held beginning at 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 21, 2012, (one hour prior to the funeral service) at 11 a.m. at Factoryville Bible Church, 33650 Factoryville Road, Athens, Mich., with Rev. Fred A. Goebert officiating. Burial with military honors will be at 2:30 p.m. at the Fort Custer National Cemetery in Augusta, Mich.

Memorial tributes may be made to ABWE or the Factoryville Bible Church. Arrangements by the Bachman Hebble Funeral Service, a member by invitation of Selected Independent Funeral Homes. For more information, call 269-965-5145. Please leave a message of condolence or remembrance on Lincoln Nelson’s web page at www.bachmanhebble.com

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