December 27, 1940 - May 28, 2020
Geoffrey Alan Nelson of Annapolis, Maryland died of COVID19 on May 28, 2020. He was 79 years old. Geoff was born on December 27, 1940 in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan to George Herbert Nelson and Catherine Stafford Nelson. He graduated from Mt. Pleasant HS in 1958 in the top 5% of his class and excelled on the varsity football team. He received a congressional appointment to the United States Naval Academy and entered in the summer of 1958. Geoff played Navy football until a shoulder injury forced him off the team Third Class Year. He graduated with the class of 1962 with a BS in engineering. He was commissioned Ensign US Navy. Upon graduation, Geoff entered US Navy Flight Training in Pensacola, FL. and continued at NAS Corpus Christi, TX , where he was awarded NFO Wings of Gold in 1963. Additional training was received at the Replacement Air Group, VP-30, at NAS North Island, CA, before reporting to Patrol Squadron VP-6 at NAS Barbers Pt, HI. Flying the P2V and the P3A aircraft, he was deployed to Japan, Alaska and the Philippines. Upon completion of his VP-6 tour, he was ordered to the Naval Academy as a navigation instructor in the Naval Science Dept. In 1970-71 Geoff was sent to Binh Thuy, South Vietnam as Quality Control Officer supporting Squadrons HAL3 and VAL4. These squadrons were flying UH1B helicopters and OV10 light attack planes in intense combat conditions. Following this tour, Geoff left active duty to pursue his civilian career. While in Annapolis, Geoff met and married his first wife, Leandra M. Lanigan. Their first two children, Andrew and Amy, were born in the Naval Academy Hospital. During this tour of duty Geoff also earned his MS in Personnel Administration and Labor Relations from George Washington University. Geoff began a highly successful career in Human Resources and Labor Relations. He has served as chief spokesperson and head labor strategist in over 30 collective bargaining sessions. He has been “across the table” from a wide array of international labor unions, including IBT, IBEW, UAW, IAM, UBCJA and the UFCW. He achieved a 22wins/2 losses record in the National Labor Relations Board administered union organizational elections, on the management side. Geoff has been Corporate Vice President in charge of human resources and labor relations for several major companies. From 1974-1997 he lived in New York and New Jersey. He worked for Hertz Corp., Baker Industries, Joyce International and John Sheridan Assoc. While at Sheridan, Geoff directed a major election NLRB turnaround for H.B. Reese Candy Co., division of Hershey Foods, defeating Bakery, Confection and Bakery Workers. He converted a certain loss to victory, employing effective team building strategies. Geoff was elected to the Hershey Hall of Fame for this victory! After his divorce from Leandra Nelson in 1994, Geoff moved to Pennsylvania and accepted a position with AMP in Harrisburg. During this time he began visiting Annapolis and attending Navy Football games and alumni events. When he was offered a job in Baltimore as Vice President of Human Resources and Labor Relations at Hydro Aluminum Wells, he accepted it and moved to Annapolis. There he met his wife, Harriet Heise Nelson and they married in 2001. In 2005 Geoff was offered a position as VP of Human Resources and Labor Relations for BAE Systems Ship Repair in Norfolk, VA. Geoff and Harriet took a second home in Virginia for three years and enjoyed every minute of their time there. Geoff always said it was his favorite job and he wished he had found it 30 years sooner. BAE repaired the Navy’s non-nuclear ships. During repairs in the BAE Shipyard, the sailors lived aboard so Geoff felt that he was back in the navy again! In retirement, Geoff and Harriet moved back to Annapolis. They traveled, enjoyed Navy Football and other alumni activities. They loved spending time with grandchildren. Geoff served as co-chair of “Link in the Chain” for the class of 1962, sponsoring the class of 2012. Geoff was an avid reader of history, loved the opera, playing bridge and golfing with his friends. He volunteered regularly at the Naval Academy Museum, archiving a backlog of donated items.
Geoff is survived by his wife, Harriet, his former wife, Leandra, his son, Andrew (Daisy) and daughter Amy Geary (Chad). He is survived by his four grandchildren Anthony Nelson, Hunter Nelson and Sarah and Emma Geary. He was preceded in death by his son, Stephen.(1995).
Geoff will be interred in the Naval Academy Columbarium when funerals are resumed. The family requests that instead of flowers, friends consider donating to Disabled American Veterans, the Greater Maryland Chapter of the Alzheimer's Assoc. or a charity of their choice.