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Stuart K. Nelson, Korean War veteran and music lover, dies

Stuart K. Nelson

Stuart K. Nelson of New York City and Tucson, Arizona passed away on April 9, 2021. He is the son of the late Solomon and Helen Nelson and was predeceased by his sister Dr. Anafred Nelson Halpern. Stuart is the cherished husband of Linda Marcus Nelson, beloved father of Laurie Wetterschneider (Larry) and Lisa Peterson (John) and adored grandfather of Matthew and Timothy Peterson.

A graduate of Augusta Military Academy, New York University (Heights Campus), and Harvard Law School, he served as a First Lieutenant in the Korean War where he was awarded The Purple Heart for his combat injuries and later served as a Captain in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. A distinguished securities lawyer, Mr. Nelson retired in 1996 as Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Sanford C. Bernstein, now AllianceBernstein. Mr. Nelson was ahead of his time in staffing his legal department with many women attorneys whose parenting needs he accommodated with part time and flextime work schedules.

Upon his retirement he and his wife, both music lovers, devoted themselves to commissioning music from both emerging and established composers. At the time of his death, Mr. Nelson and his wife had commissioned just shy of 100 pieces of music. Mr. Nelson was best known for his bear hugs, keen interest in and abiding concern for everyone lucky enough to come within his orbit, and his boundlessly generous spirit. He was always ready to lend a helping hand. He came to the rescue of those struggling to pay for their medications in the early days of the AIDS epidemic just as he did to entrepreneurs and small businesses suffering the aftereffects of 9/11 and to artists trying to make ends meet during the pandemic. As a dear friend wrote of him, “If I could choose anyone to model my life after in terms of character and decency and love for life, Stuart is the one I would choose. He left such a wonderful roadmap on how to be a giving human being.”

Our North Star is gone but his indomitable spirit will guide us forever. Services are private. There will be a Zoom celebration of his life at a date to be announced. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to WQXR by calling Kristel Kempin at 646-829-4290 and leaving a message that you would like to make a donation in memory of Stuart Nelson or by making a donation online in Mr. Nelson’s name at or by sending it to the Tanglewood Music Center c/o Tanglewood Development Office, 301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02115.