Randy Nelson

Alton |

Randy Nelson, 57, formerly of East Alton, lost his courageous battle with Glioblastoma at Evelyn’s House in Creve Coeur, Missouri.  He was born on August 12, 1966, in Alton, the son of the late Richard and Frances (Sypolt) Nelson.  He married the former Meghan Widenhoefer on September 25, 2020, in Alton, and she survives.  Other survivors include his stepchildren: Julian, Lydia and Gabriel Watt and Brittany (Dennis) Edney, and Katie (Austin) Sanders, five step grandchildren, his sisters and brothers in law: Ornetta (Fred) Gilliam, Roxie (Mike Baker) Huck, Karen (Terry) Good, his brothers and sister in law: Richard Nelson, Boyd (Staci) Nelson, his nieces and nephews: Jeremy (Missy), Aaron (Kayla) and Scott (Tonya Kelly) Gilliam, Dean (Heather Ogden) Huck, Derrick (Wendi) and Ryan (Tara) Good, Chris Nelson, Sarah (Lance Harris) Nelson and his Nephbro Dan (Keely) Nelson, several great nieces and nephews, his furbabies: Momo, Leo, Cheeto, Oliver and Baby EJ.

Upon graduating from Roxana High School, Randy served in the Air Force from 1984 to 1988 as a Fire Protection Specialist at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska and then at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota.  After serving, Randy returned home to work as a firefighter at Olin and was then hired in 1989 by the East Alton Fire Department. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 2000, Captain in 2006, and Chief in 2012. He retired from the fire department in 2015 and took a position as the Village Treasurer. During his career, he obtained a Bachelor’s of Science in Fire Service Management and a Masters in Fire Service and Homeland Security from SIU Carbondale. He was also a published author for Fire Engineering magazine in 2015.  Randy formerly taught Fire Science at Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey.  Randy’s community involvement included East Alton Rotary, receiving the Paul Harris Award for Service, and IAFF Local 2333 serving as President and Vice President.

Randy loved everything from fast cars and motorcycles to fishing and darts and he was an avid boater. He had a gift for making a short story long and if you were lucky enough to be his friend…well then you were just lucky.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sister in law: Donna Nelson.

In celebration of his life visitation will be from 3pm to 8pm on Friday, February 16, 2024, at Pitchford Funeral Home in Wood River with a Uniformed Personnel Walk Thru at 6pm.  Private funeral services will be held on Saturday, February 17, 2024, at the funeral home. Burial will follow at Valhalla Memorial Park in Godfrey with full military rites by the Ritual Team of VFW Post 1308 of Alton.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to Evelyn’s House or to Glioblastoma Foundation and will be accepted at the funeral home. 

The funeral procession will leave Pitchford Funeral Home in Wood River at 10:45am and travel north to Airline Drive.  We will turn left onto Airline Drive and take it to Shamrock Street.  The procession will turn left onto Shamrock Street and will pause in front of the East Alton Fire Department.  We will then turn right onto Smith Avenue followed by another right onto West St. Louis Avenue.  The procession will travel westbound through the traffic islands and will turn right onto Homer Adams Parkway.  We will take Homer Adams Parkway to West Delmar and turn right onto West Delmar.  The procession will take West Delmar for approximately two miles and will enter Valhalla Memorial Park through the main entrance. 

Online guestbook available at

Obit Provided By:
Pitchford Funeral Home

Print Version

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