Benjamin Cale “Sonny” Nelson, age 71, of Marathon, Florida, passed away at the University of Miami Hospital following a long illness.
Cale was a 1961 graduate of Marlinton High School and a 1963 graduate of Bailey Institute of Technology in St. Louis, Missouri. He was the owner of CIMCA of California, where he traveled abroad installing electronic equipment, and Hog Key Marina in Marathon, Florida, where he resided for many years.
He was a master boat builder in the Florida Keys, where he built and lived on his 48 foot sail boat, “Misty Blue.” He had a love of the sea but never lost his love for the mountains and requested to be brought back home to West Virginia. Cale was an optimistic person and had recently purchased a farm in Arcadia, Florida, with the intentions of starting an organic fruit and vegetable business.
Cale was a member of Central Union United Methodist Church near Marlinton and continued his faith throughout his life. Through his years growing up in Marlinton, he spent many hours hunting and fishing with his brother, Jack, and cousins, Kermit Friel and Luster Friel. There was always time for reminiscing about their childhood days on the Greenbrier River and near their home.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Cale and Edith Wheeler Nelson.
He is survived by his wife, Sherry Gifford, of Marathon, Florida; a sister, Alice Nelson Baca, of Albuquerque, New Mexico; brothers, Jack Nelson, of Renick, and Oran Nelson, of Morgantown; two nephews, JD Nelson, of Arbovale, and Jason Baca, of Austin, Texas; and three nieces, Jeanette Wilson, of Phoenix, Arizona, Teri Smith, of Denver, Colorado, and Annalee Baca, of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Funeral service is Friday, August 14, at 2 p.m. at Central Union United Methodist Church with Rev. David Merryman officiating. Interment will be in the Wilfong Cemetery. Family will receive friends one hour prior to the service.
VanReenen Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.