Henry Nelson: May 1, 1937 – February 28, 2022

Sculptor Henry Nelson (most knew him as Hank), of Freeland, Washington, passed away February 28th, 2022, at the age of 84. Born in Tucson, Arizona, on May 1st, 1937, a true land of rock, he fell in love with stone early on in his life. At the age of 20, he found himself dry-docked in Bremerton, Washington, during part of his time with the US Navy. It was then that he knew exactly where he belonged, though it would take awhile to make it happen. After starting his family in the desert Southwest, Hank gradually began to find his way back to the Pacific Northwest…but first, a house built almost entirely of stone had to manifest in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in the late 1970’s. After that, it wasn’t long before he would be back in the land he loved, to spend the rest of his life surrounded by water.

In 1984, Hank began the journey of becoming a sculptor, when he apprenticed with a marble carver in Italy. In 1993, a dream began to unfold on South Whidbey…a dream that emerged beneath the hemlock trees, among ferns and thistle and blackberry bramble. With his laser focus on carving and casting, collecting and assembling, along with the hard work of many others, Cloudstone Sculpture Park blossomed into what it is today. Cloudstone now exists as a haven for anyone who wishes to explore the various realms of three dimensional art. Hank’s passion for travel, as well as his fascination with other cultures, can be seen in much of his work at the park. The Park will also occasionally feature the work of other 3-D artists, and will serve as an ongoing educational facility to carry on Hank’s mission and passion for 3-D art.

Hank was preceded in death by his father, Dines Nelson; mother, Ann Chatillon; stepmother Barbara Shaul; wife, Deborah Nelson; and sister, Indiana Nelson. He is survived by many loved ones: sister, Wendy Nelson; half brother, Rick Chatillon; children, Mike Nelson, Jennifer (Curtis) Chambers, Rebecca (Stefan) Jonsson; grandchildren, Kathleen, Andrew, Jessica, Kristina, Caitlyn, Brayden; and great-grandchildren, Olive and Camila.

Special thanks to: Marty Matthews; Moe and Mark Jerome; Tom Sulich and Micki Ryan-Sulich; Burt Buesch; Don Wodjinski; Jennifer Chambers; Cindy Van Gerpen-Henn; Stephen Formanek; Barry Wenaas; Joe Sarasaud; and Julia (June) Baquiran, who have all given selflessly to both Hank’s mission and his life.

For more information about Cloudstone, please visit cloudstonefoundation.org. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to Cloudstone. A private celebration of life will take place at a later date.