Gary Nelson 1938-2017 | Obituary

Gary Nelson was born in Sedro Wooley on November 18, 1938. Surrounded by his family, he died on November 21, 2017, a few days after he turned 79. He spent his early years in Sedro Wooley, later attending the University of Washington. In 1999, he and his wife, Betty Drumheller, bought a house on Swifts Bay, where they and their families have spent many happy hours crabbing, fishing, boating and enjoying the Island.

Gary’s professional career was in the automotive industry, working first for Union Oil then starting his first company, Nevada Brake Supply, in Las Vegas. When he moved to the Seattle area in 1980, he started Sure Stop Manufacturing and Olympic Brake Supply, the company that he owned and operated until shortly before his death.

Gary loved life and spent much of his leisure time flying his family and friends in his plane, on his boat cruising the Northwest, with a fishing rod or crab pot capturing hapless fish and crab, on skis winding down mountains across the world, cheering on his favorite sport teams or just enjoying fine food and wine with his many friends and family. He had a great sense of humor, an optimistic, can-do spirit, a genuine interest and respect for everyone he met and a deep, unwavering love for his family.

He was predeceased by his parents, Lewis and Helen Nelson and his beloved sister, Jackie Atterbury. He is survived by his wife Betty Drumheller, his sons, Lance, Eric and Leif (wife Cece), his daughter Lori Flanders (husband Dennis) his stepchildren Bill Drumheller and Corinne Drumheller (husband David) and his grandchildren, Jordan, Thor, Talia and Zane. A Celebration of his Life will be held in early January in Bellevue. Remembrances may be made to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society ( or the Virginia Mason Foundation (