He grew up in Cleveland and came to Princeton from Phillips Exeter, where he was a student council member and head of the dorm committee. An honor-roll student every semester, Nels won the Religion Prize and played soccer and JV golf. He was the son of Nelson P. Rose ’31 and nephew of H. Chapman Rose ’28.
At Princeton, Nels majored in philosophy, wrote his thesis for Professor James Scanlon on “Utilitarian Ethics,” graduated magna cum laude, and roomed in 42-44 Blair Hall with Dave Holmes, Gordie Keen, Greg McBride, Marshall Sellers, and Bruce Wallace. A member of Cap and Gown, he made Dean’s List, participated in the Trenton Tutorial Project, led the campus Fund Drive, played freshman and varsity soccer, and also served as varsity soccer manager. Nels was beloved by his roommates, whom he served for many years as the newsletter coordinator, and by his classmates for his brilliance, public consciousness, and intellectual seriousness.
Firmly committed to the urgency of public service, Nels earned an MSW from Case Western in 1970 and an MPA from Cornell in 1974. He began his career as a social worker and for two decades served as the chief fiscal officer for the State of Illinois Emergency Services and Disaster Agency. Later in life, in another way to be of service, he prepared tax returns for those who needed help at H&R Block.
Nels is survived by his daughter, Elizabeth, and her two children; his son, Averell; and his brother, Marshall ’71. The class extends its condolences for the loss of this complicated, cherished man to them all.