Seeley Swan Pathfinder -


By Nathan Bourne

Remembering Mr. Nelson

Editor's Note


Nathan Bourne, Pathfinder

A memorial honoring Cliff Nelson sits in front of Seeley Lake Elementary's gymnasium. This Friday, Sept. 30, marks 20 years since Nelson's murder, which remains unsolved.

SEELEY LAKE - It's been 20 years this Sept. 30, since the unsolved murder of seventh and eighth-grade teacher Cliff Nelson. His 20-year tenure at Seeley Lake Elementary came to an end that night but his memories live on in those of us who were lucky enough to have known him as Mr. Nelson.

On this anniversary I find myself in a strange place, one that even Mr. Nelson would have found to be most amusing, owning the Seeley Swan Pathfinder. Tonight as I scroll though the archives of the Pathfinder, floods of memories come back, old names I hadn't thought of in ages, the plays we did, the "Red L...

For access to this article please sign in or subscribe.


Reader Comments(4)

Afterlife writes:

I have only read a few of the things that ppl have said about Cliff Nelson. I appreciate the love that u guys remembered. And that u keep his memories alive. Last time I saw Cliff was prob that summer or the year before. I don’t remember a lot about him. I was young when we got the phone call. It was fall time for us in North Dakota. I am (Cliffs) Nephew. It still kills me inside that they still haven’t found the person who gunned him down. I don’t currently live in North Dakota anymore. But I still think about this and the times I do remember him. He was always quiet. He never said much. But this I do know is he was my favorite (Uncle).

CCrouch writes:

Mr. Nelson was a major part of my life, and remains that way today. I was a shy, insecure young man with very little guidance in life. He saw that, and made a point to give me confidence. He promised to read my Louis L'Amour books if I would read his Native American books. He cast me as the lead in Henry V - although that may not have been the best idea. I lived 30 minutes away from the Seeley crowd, but he stopped to pick me up on the way to Missoula to eat pizza & watch a movie (later realizing that Porkies may not have been the best choice, and got in a car wreck after dropping me off). He took 4 of us on a 3 day trip to see historical places in Montana that otherwise we may not have experienced...on his dime...during the summer. He drove to Hamilton to see me graduate from high school, and continued to write letters to me to see how things were going right up until the end. Essentially, he & Mrs. Hart taught me well enough that now I write for a living.  His picture hangs in my hallway, which is the Hall of Fame for people in my life. I owe a lot to him, but all he ever wanted was to be able to teach kids, and make their lives better - big ways or small. Never sought out recognition, didn't get enough. Share your stories - this man deserves to never be forgotten.

Mikeh40 writes:

He was incredible! He lived across the river from us. I remember our class going to his home for hot apple cider and the going out to sing Christmas carols durning the holiday. Also Hans, Troy, and myself going with him to Missoula for pizza and a movie, still remember the movie Blue Thunder. Miss him every day.

Tracy writes:

Mr. Nelson had such a profound impact on me and countless others! He believed in me like no other teach did. He pushed me, a lot... but that is because he saw something in me that I didn't know was there. We all still talk about him and share stories. Although my daughter has never met him, she knows about Mr. Nelson and how much he meant to me:). Can't believe it has been 20 years............. Cheers to you Cliff, your memory will live on.


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2021

Rendered 08/09/2022 23:43