Gilbert Norman Nelson, 82, of New Milford, died unexpectedly Dec. 24, 2011, at his home.

Mr. Nelson was born Aug. 16, 1929, in Brooklyn, N.Y., son of the late Arthur and Andrea (Goethesen) Nelson, and younger brother to the late Roy Nelson.

He graduated from Kings Point Merchant Marine Academy with a degree in marine transportation in 1953.

Mr. Nelson served in the United States Navy including time as lieutenant (jg) aboard the USS Abbot during combat in Korea. Following the war, he remained in the naval reserve until 1966.

He married Hazel Lillian Olsen on June 25, 1955. They were married for 51 years until her death in 2006.

Following his military service, Mr. Nelson had a long career focusing in sales and marketing at companies including General Electric, LFE Automatic Signal, Avco Lycoming, Nelson Education, Simrad, TDC Electronics, and Stockman and Associates across product lines such as lighting, marine electronics, educational electronics, and toll equipment.

Throughout his life, Mr. Nelson was especially proud of his Norwegian heritage and was active in many Norwegian-American clubs.

Mr. Nelson and his wife moved to New Milford from Stamford in 2002.

During his time in New Milford, he founded the Lilla Fund in memory of his wife. The fund aided the neediest of the needy and promoted childhood reading. He dedicated a statue in front of the New Milford Library in her memory in 2011.

Mr. Nelson was also active with veterans' affairs, most notably pursuit of a Lone Sailor statue in the region.

Mr. Nelson is survived by a daughter and son-in-law, Karen and Tony Keating, and their two sons, Jeffrey and Scott, of Newtown; a son and daughter-in-law, Harold and Carol, and their two children, Gary and Laura, of Manchester; and a daughter, and son-in-law, Kris, and John Kivela; and their three children, Amy, Ashley, and Peter, of New Milford; and several nephews, and nieces.

Private services were held at the Lillis Funeral Home of New Milford. Burial followed at the New Milford Center Cemetery.