Update: Memorial Service for Dr. Franklin Nelson

A memorial service for former U.S. Figure Skating President Dr. Franklin Nelson will be held Friday, May 10, 2019, at 2 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church at 709 South Boston Avenue, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with a reception to follow the service in the Miller Library of the Church. 

Dr. Nelson passed away on Feb. 6, 2019, after a long illness. He was 85.

Nelson started his skating career in his hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and continued at The Skating Club of Boston while a student at Harvard University, where he earned his bachelor’s and medical degrees.

Nelson served as U.S. Figure Skating president from 1989 to 1992. He was the last president who also was a U.S. champion, winning the 1955 junior ice dance title with Sidney Foster. Foster and Nelson took seventh place at the 1956 World Championships, held in the former West Germany. Soon after the event, Nelson joined the U.S. Navy.

He served on U.S. Figure Skating’s board of directors for 10 years, was a vice president (1980–83) and Dance Committee chair (1975–78). As a physician, Nelson was the first chair of the U.S. Figure Skating Sports Medicine Committee and was an original and longtime member of the ISU Sports Medicine Committee. He was instrumental in establishing the drug testing protocol still used for international figure skating and speed skating events.

An ISU judge, Nelson served on the pairs panel at the 1984 Olympic Winter Games in Sarajevo and judged several World Championships.

Nelson also served U.S. Figure Skating as a team leader for the 1973 and ’74 World Championships. He was also a team leader for the 1976 U.S. Olympic Team, which featured future Hall of Famers Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner, Linda Fratianne, Dorothy Hamill, Terry Kubicka, Colleen O’Connor and Jim Millns, and David Santee.

He is survived by his wife, Polly Reid Nelson, of Ambler, Pennsylvania; his son, D. Reid Nelson, of Lafayette, Colorado; his daughter, Whitney Nelson and husband Paul Wilmore and their children, Tanner and Remy, of Fort Washington, Pennsylvania; and his brother, Barlow Nelson and wife Jonnie of Chicago, and his children, Amy Nelson and husband, Stephen Parodi of San Francisco and David Nelson and wife, Courtney, of Chicago; and by the children of his deceased brother, Philip E. Nelson, Kevin Nelson and wife, Maureen of Midlothian, Virginia, Steven Nelson of Stillwater, Oklahoma, and Stacey Nelson of Edmond, Oklahoma.