Fredric A. Nelson Jr., 86, owned sandblasting firm

May 23, 2002

Fredric A. Nelson Jr., retired owner of a Baltimore sandblasting company, Mensa member and aviator who in retirement learned to drive 18-wheelers and rode dirt bikes, died of cancer Saturday at the Monkton home of a daughter. He was 86.

Mr. Nelson was former owner of National Equipment Leasing Corp., a business he established in the late 1940s that specialized in sandblasting steel storage tanks and brick buildings. He retired in 1967.

He was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and raised in Washington and Arlington, Va., where he graduated from Central High School. He attended Catholic University of America.

During World War II, he worked as an engineer at the former Glenn L. Martin Co. in Middle River, where his specialty was B-26 and PBM Mariner gun turrets.

He had earned his pilot's license and also worked as a flight instructor on both planes. During the later part of the war, he was a company representative at Army Air Forces bases in England and Florida.

During the 1950s and 1960s, Mr. Nelson flew single and multiengine aircraft out of Quinn Airport near White Marsh, and seaplanes from the old Harbor Field. He also piloted charter flights for singers Jim Reeves and Burl Ives, and enjoyed flying crop-dusters.

He was a member of the OX-5 Club, an organization of pilots who had flown planes powered by the early internal combustion engine designed by Curtiss Co. and installed between 1913 and 1918 in military and civilian aircraft.

Mr. Nelson also became a licensed tractor-trailer driver, and took several loads cross-country. He was an avid dirt bike rider and enjoyed the sport into his late 60s. He also was a member of the Baltimore Kayak Club and Mensa, an organization for people with high IQs.

Services are private.

Survivors include his wife of 58 years, the former Doris Riley; a son, Rick Nelson of New York City; three daughters, Cheryl Raker of Monkton, Nancy Currey of Ridgewood, N.J., and Lisa Thompson of Chevy Chase; and 10 grandchildren.

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