Arnold Nelson*

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Arnold Nelson is a soft-spoken, modest man who does not appear to be the hard-nosed, aggressive tackle he was for three years at Napa High. Nelson actually went out for four years, but as a freshman, he was too big for the “B” team yet too young to play in varsity league games. He was a starter for his last three years. Playing both offense and defense, Nelson was a 60-minute player for the 1942 North Bay League championship team that beat Vallejo 3-0, and for the 1943 NBL co-champs. The 1943 team had only Nelson and Napa High School Hall of Famer Jim Dykes as returning starters from the 1942 team. With new coach Hal Buffa at the helm, the 1943 Indians surprised all the league experts by winning a NBL co-championship. Nelson was elected captain of the 1943 team and earned Second Team All-NBL honors. Nelson also played two years of baseball and one year of track at Napa High. He was president of the Napa High School branch of the National Honor Society in 1944. After a stint in the Navy, Nelson returned to Napa as a starting tackle on the 1946 Napa Junior College team. A long time model airplane enthusiast, Nelson won two successive World Championships competing in the “speed racing” category with model aircraft that he built by hand. The competitions were held in Finland and Belgium and were considered the Olympics of model airplane flying, with all of the world powers sending teams. Nelson won the right to represent the United States at trials held in St. Louis, Missouri. Nelson – a quiet, intelligent, tough leader whose trademarks as a tackle were consistency and reliability.