March 22, 2016
Al Nelson, who resigned earlier this year after 30 years as a member of the San Patricio Municipal Water District Board of Directors, passed away March 13 at the age of 83. He represented residents of Portland on the board.
Nelson is remembered for his integrity and dedication to maintaining the district's sound financial position. In his professional life he served as business manager first for the Sinton Independent School District and then for the Gregory-Portland ISD.
"Al’s business and financial expertise brought a strength to the District that will be deeply missed," General Manager Brian Williams said. "His integrity and standing in the community helped maintain and solidify the District's place as a key foundation component of the Coastal Bend economy."
Nelson was already on the board when Jim Naismith took over as District general manager in 1989. "I already knew the board members and I had confidence in Al and in the rest of the board. They were each good in their own area of experience and there were no political leanings," Naismith recalls.
Naismith recalled that throughout his long tenure as a board member Nelson would review District financial reports before each meeting and pick out one item to ask about in detail during the meeting, a technique likely borrowed from years in finance.
Early on Naismith found it an entertaining challenge for the staff to attempt to predict what item Al was likely to ask about. "We got better at it over time. It was helpful for our staff, knowing they should be prepared," he said.
Nelson tried to never miss a board meeting. "He took it very seriously. He was knowledgeable, helpful and determined, and he always had a positive attitude," Naismith recalled.
A Coastal Bend native, Nelson attended Schreiner Institute and graduated from Bishop High School and Texas A&I University before serving the U.S. Army. Early in his career he worked for Southern Minerals and later was associated with First Community Bank of Corpus Christi. He was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Portland as well as the Masons, Texas Association of School Business Officials, and the Portland Kiwanis Club.