David ‘The Admiral’ Nelson dies at age 96

In the News

A DePere man with a long and influential career in broadcasting has died.

David L. Nelson is described by long time employee and business partner Larry Busse as the “perfect boss.” He said Nelson would give his employees a challenge and a goal and would let them succeed. He said Nelson had high standards, wouldn’t take shortcuts, and had a loyal group of people who worked for him.

During the years 1953 to 1962 Nelson was employed by both the Green Bay Newspaper Company and Post Corporation of Appleton where he served as chief financial officer and as a director of both corporations. During this time the Green Bay Newspaper Company and Post Corporation were corporations controlled by the same owners. In 1962, these corporations separated their ownership and David then devoted his interests solely to Post Corporation. There he served as a director and chief operating and chief financial officer until 1984 when the corporation was sold. Nelson was executive vice president and chief operating officer when the firm was sold.

In 1984 Nelson purchased radio stations in Eau Claire and subsequently purchased radio stations in Kirksville, MO, Marshalltown, IA, and Fargo, ND.  He also bought TV stations in Green Bay, Eau Claire, Marquette, Michigan, and Rochester, New York.

Nelson never retired. He had ownership in Holiday Travel Service of Eau Claire and Winnebago Color Press in Menasha. He served as an officer and director of these firms until his death.

Former employee Marty Green said Nelson was a strong, tough, and caring leader. He said he would never forget Nelson’s first words to him when he joined WLUK in 1967 at age 24, “What have you sold so far?”

Nelson was an avid supporter of the historical preservation of the Fox River Valley and generously donated to many organizations. He also had a love for boating.

He served during WWII in Europe with the 103rd Infantry Division. 

Nelson died July 18. He was 96.