Brian Nelson

A memorial to a good friend who will be sadly missed. 
 My prayers are with you and your family.

God's Speed!

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I put together this webpage to coordinate information from family and friends about memorial details, stories and what exactly happened.  
In addition, I want to share your pictures and stories on this page for others to see.  Please send your condolences, thoughts and prayer to the family via email or physical address listed below.


Brian K. Nelson

Tribune Obituaries West Central Tribune
Published Thursday, March 30, 2006

Sept. 27, 1965 – March 17, 2006

SPICER — Brian Keith Nelson, 40, formerly of the New London-Spicer area, died March 17 from injuries in an automobile accident in Germany.

The service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at First Lutheran Church of Norway Lake in rural New London.

Visitation will be for two hours prior to the service at the church. Local arrangements are with Johnson Funeral Home in New London. Memorials are preferred to the Make a Wish Foundation.

He was born Sept. 27, 1965, in Minneapolis to James and Jeanine (Werner) Nelson. The family moved to Spicer in 1978. He worked at Old Mill Inn during the summer months and was a founding member of the Little Crow Water Ski Club. He graduated from New London-Spicer High School in 1984. He attended Willmar Community College for two years and then the University of Wisconsin, Menomonee Stout, and received a degree in graphic design.

He worked for Sea World in Florida, as a show director and skier in San Antonio, Texas, in San Diego, Calif., at Marine World in Vallejo, Calif., Safari World in Bangkok, Thailand; as a stuntman at Universal Studios in Japan, at Holiday Park in Hasslock, German, and as a show director and skier for five seasons with Water Ski Shows Inc.

He is survived by his parents of Woonsocket, S.D.; sister: Gina (and Andy) McCabe of St. Paul; one niece; and maternal grandmother: Elsie Werner of Wabasso.

He was preceded in death by his grandparents: Leonard and Alice Nelson, and Ernest Werner Sr.

Memorial Fund

Please consider a memorial donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation in memory of Brian Nelson.

A memorial fund drive has been established in honor of Brian. All donations given in memory of Brian will be tracked and a card will be sent to Jim and Jeanine for each donor. 

"Brian loved kids. He went go out of his way to make them feel special. For example, once a young boy with cancer came to see Batman at Marine World…unfortunately the boy was a year too late because the show theme had changed… Brian found out about this and he went out of his way, dug up the old Batman outfit, put it on, and granted that young boy’s wish… Brian would have wanted all memorials in his name given to an organization or cause that “grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength, and joy.”

Special Thanks to Christian Anderson for setting the memorial fund up for the Nelson Family.  Christian spoke to the national chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Then he spoke to the Minnesota chapter and they are doing the same; Christian did this in case people contact and wanted to give to the local Make-A-Wish Foundation (I guess the local and national chapters are separate but work together for the same causes).

Thank you Christian for quick hard work and God Bless!

Key Information:

Last webpage update: Thursday, December 11, 2008 02:00 PM

Photo Gallery
Click any pictures for larger view

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Transferring Planes in London

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We arrived at 3am with our Turkish Agent

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Brian posing at my take off point.  I was using him as a reference point

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 A second pose for the opposite point of view reference.

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What it looks like inside a Turkmen Disco-tech

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Celebrations after the flight! 

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Brian took this picture on Show Day

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Show day! Getting ready for the big flight!

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Celebratory Cigars for a safe successful performance.  Brian and I bought Cuban Cigars in England just for this moment.

Left to right: Dan, Baris our Turkish Client, 
Cem our liaison for our Turkmen Clint and Brian

What Happened?

March 18, 2006 6:15am +1:00 GMT  (9:15pm March 17, Los Angeles Time)

3-19-06,  The information we currently have is that Brian and his Australian friend Greg Cummins left for the Frankfort Airport to pick up arriving skiers at 5am.  For reasons unknown Brian and Greg entered the autobahn going the wrong way.  They were involved in a severe head-on collision which took the life of Brian and the other driver.  The other driver was a father of three.  Greg suffered burns and a broken arm but thankfully, will live.  I believe Greg's sister-in-law went to Germany to be with him during his major surgery.  It does not appear that Greg remembers much of the incident but it is too early to tell.  Heal Fast Greg!  

Again, please remember this information is not 100% confirmed.

Please join me in  prayers for Brian, the other driver, Greg and their families.  May God welcome Brian and the other driver into His Kingdom and console their family and friends.

Words from the Family

3-28-06, The service is at 2pm with visitation from noon until 2. If you could post that info would be a great help.   Thanks so much. Jeanine & Jim

p.s. Gina and Andy get home this afternoon with Brian.

3-25-06, I've heard from Kym McNicholas, in California and they are having a get together tonight in honor of Brian.

There will be a memorial service in Germany Monday night and Gina and Andy will be flying back with Brian's ashes on Tuesday. Hopefully, we will be able to spend some quality time with the kids before the service on Saturday in New London.

3-20-06, I just talked to Jeanine (Brian's mom).  Brian's sister and brother-in-law are leaving for Germany on Wednesday.  The park is going to have a memorial service in Germany.  Brian will be cremated in Germany and returned to his parents shortly after.  There will be a service in Minnesota on April 1, 2006. (more information to the left)

3-19-06, I talked to Johnny, Brian's cousin.  He and Brian talked about what they would want in this situation and Brian told Johnny he wanted a party.  Stating: "People miss weddings and birthday parties but everyone show's up to funerals so I want everyone to have fun together"

Johnny and their family are looking for suggestions and contact information from Brian's friends.  You can send information to Brian's mom at 

Brian's sister and Brother in law are making arrangements to travel to Germany to assist Gary in bringing Brian home.

Brian and I

Brian and I have worked together on many occasions.  We spent time together at IAAPA conventions, I had the chance to visit him while he was in Japan and we managed and performed together at Six Flags Marine World.  He managed the Batman Show and I, the Jungle show.  We had the opportunity on many occasion to share the stage.  I'd fight him at Batman and he would be my clumsy sidekick at Jungle.

Our Turkmenistan Adventure

Most recently (December 2005).  I brought him with me to Turkmenistan as my Safety Assistant.  Click on the pictures to the left for a larger view.

I had a unique problem with this show.  All my regular technicians were unavailable and being a newer pilot I am extremely picky to who I bring.   We were to perform for the President and I needed someone who was professional and savy.

My criteria was long.  Not only do they have to understand the but know what to do in an emergency.  Since we were going to another country especially one that borders Iran and Afghanistan I needed someone with the where-with-all to stay professional and alert to any unique and special details.  Someone with previous international experience who would travel well with this unusually long and difficult commute.  Someone who could handle all things if need be.  

But most of all, I needed someone I could trust, had a working relationship with and enjoyed being around.  Searching my contacts there were only 2 people that fit that description to the letter.

Brian and I had a great time.  Thanks to his quick learning and assistance, 30,000 people were entertained and the client was extremely happy.     

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Gary and Brian selling shows at IAAPA

Water Ski Shows Inc.

The measure of Brian's loss is not just measured in sorrow.  The impact his absence creates is, in itself, a tribute to the man.  Brain was sent to manage and perform in Germany.  A manager and performer with Brian's talent is few and far between.  He is practically irreplaceable.  Such diverse talent is extremely difficult to find and cultivate.

Some of the most fun I ever had was at the IAAPA Conventions.  It is a convention for Theme Parks of every size.  I worked with Gary and Brian at IAAPA 1999.  What a great team.  Later I continued attending IAAPA for the Rocketman and every year I looked forward to the convention so Brian, Gary and I could hang out at the parties and local functions.

My heart goes out to Gary, who is his employer but more accurately, a great friend.  Not only does Gary have to manage his sorrow with loosing his friend and right-hand man but he must pull a shattered team together.  Assure the park that  'the show will go on' and manage the painful details of bringing Brian back to his parents in Minnesota.   Not to mention, manage all his other shows around the world.

Not forgotten is Connie and Jean who's dedication keeps the wheels turning in the office.  I know it must be so very difficult to stay strong and focused for the hundreds of other talented and mourning performers, clients and friends.

From what I know in my personal and professional relationship with Gary, Connie and Jean is...  They will handle everything with flying colors, because they always do!  God Bless you! 

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Our Japan Adventure

After completing a Rocketman Performance I had the chance to visit Brian in Osaka Japan.  Brian was very fortunate to spend a couple of years performing in the "Waterworld" Stunt show.  We were invited to a "Pimp and Ho" Party.  It was good fun.  Pictured to the left.

He was a very talented Stuntman and actor. He gave me one of a greatest complements.  He told me that I was a role model for him with stunt work based on my performances at Six Flags.   The reason why the complement was so special to me is because I didn't think Brian had role models, especially me.  The truth of the matter is I used him as a role model when it came to his approach to managing stunt shows.  I still follow the examples I learned from him in my performances.  

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Brian and I with Damian or as it is properly pronounced Da-MIAN!

This photo was taken at an end of year ceremony at Six Flags where we gave awards and recognition to the performers and staff.

Brian has the best sense of humor.  The way he is able to work the crowd.  His very demeanor demands respect and portraits confidence.

Memorial Service, New London, Minnesota 4-1-06

I am thankful I was able to attended Brian’s Service yesterday in Minnesota. I wanted to share this with those who were not able to make it to the Service in New London, MN. The Service we very nice but of course very hard and sad together. There was an awesome slide show and photos displayed of Brian. Rev. Wayne Kopitzke, J.D. Stull, and Ken Hanson spoke of Brain greatly which had us all with tears in our eyes but the next breath laugher and smile from stories of Brian’s life here with us. This great web site was mentioned also which has helped all of Brian’s fellow skiers, entertainers, friends, and family around the world express Brian‘s great life.

Becky Popp Hovda

In Memory of
Brian Keith Nelson

September 27, 1965 Minneapolis, Minnesota March 17, 2006 Hassloch, Germany

To Those I Love

If I should ever leave you, whom I love. To go

along the silent way, grieve not, nor speak of me with tears, but laugh and talk of me as if I were beside you there. (I'd come-I'd come. Could I but find a way! But would not tears and grief be barriers?) And when you hear a song or see a bird I loved, please do not let the thought of me be sad. For I am loving you just as I always have... You were so good to me! There are so many things I wanted still, to do-so many things to say to you. Remember that I did not fear...It was just leaving you that was so hard to face... We cannot see beyond...But this I know: I loved you so-'twos heaven here with you.

Johnson Funeral Home

New London Belgrade Paynesville

Brian Keith Nelson was born on September 27, 1965 in Minneapolis, the son of James and Jeanine (Werner) Nelson. He was baptized at Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Minneapolis and confirmed at Faith Lutheran Church in Spicer. He grew up in the Prior Lake area through the sixth grade. In 1978 the family moved to Spicer, where Brian fished on Green Lake and worked at the Old Mill Inn resort during the summer months through high school. While in school he played football, basketball and was a founding member of the Little Crow Water Ski Club. He graduated from New London - Spicer High School in 1984. He continued his education at Willmar Community College for two years and then the University of Wisconsin, Menomonie Stout, receiving his degree in graphic design. During his spring breaks and summers he skied at Sea World in Florida. He loved the entertainment business, which found him traveling, skiing and performing all over the world. Among the places he worked were Sea World, in Florida, Texas and California. He also skied at Marine World in California, Hopi Hari in Brazil, Safari World in Bangkok, Thailand, and did stunt work at Universal Studios in Japan. He worked as a show director and also skied at Holiday Park in Hassloch, Germany for five seasons with Water Ski Shows, Inc. He enjoyed photography, his friendships, spending his time off with family and friends, especially fishing and hunting with his parents, and spending time with his sister, and niece. Brian enjoyed life to the fullest and savored every moment. He always found the extraordinary in the ordinary. He will be remembered for how he could light up a room with his beautiful warm smiling face and caring spirit. Brian's family, friends and all who knew him will miss his charismatic personality and positive attitude on life.

Brian died on March 17, 2006 at the age of 40, from injuries sustained in an automobile accident while working in Germany. He his survived by his loving family, parents, James and Jeanine Nelson of Woonsocket, SD; sister, Gina (and Andy) McCabe and their daughter, Josephine McCabe all of St. Paul, maternal grandmother, Elsie Werner of Wabasso; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

Brian was greeted in heaven by his grandparents, Leonard and Alice Nelson, and Ernest Werner Sr.; uncle, Ernie Werner and Cousins Ronnie, John and Timothy.

May God Bless The Memory of Brian Keith Nelson

Pictures From The Blue Frog Memorial 3-25-06

Here's a few pictures of Brian's Memorial Dinner from The Blue Frog, last night. It was a great salute to our dear friend.

~Cheryl Lemin

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Pictures and Stories from Brian's friends and Family

All the stories and photo's below have been sent by Brian's Friends and Family.

They are all very heart warming. I highlighted a few to the right.

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Some photos of recent years and a couple from just 3 weeks ago.Jon  Brian NYEve 20021.jpg (50889 bytes)

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Jon Nelson

Brian was my cousin and the brother I never had. We grew up in West Central Minnesota where most weekends were spent at Brian's because they lived on a lake. This is where Brian taught me to water ski. Our Dads are brothers. They took us on hunting, fishing and snowmobiling trips- hardly ever did they leave us out of their plans. 

After graduating from H.S. Brian and I attended Willmar Community College together. This is where we truly became "the Nelson boys." When we would walk into a bar or party they would say "here come the Nelson boys- what's going to happen next?" Of course we never got into REAL trouble, it was just good fun. As time went on, Brian became a pro skier and I left for the mountains of Colorado. While Brian was skiing the water, I was skiing the white stuff. I was fortunate to have spent time with him when he was skiing in San Diego and when he was up in the San Fran area. Neither time was dull to say the least. There was never a shortage of fun when you were with Brian. When Brian started working overseas there were times when we would go too long without seeing each other but we always kept in touch often via e-mail or phone- never really missing a beat. 

The last time I saw Brian was about three weeks ago. He stayed with Liz and I for about 5 days on his way back to his Mom and Dads in South Dakota. As usual we had a great time just being together. We laughed, talked about old times, the past and the future. Brian spoke of his plans and how this show in Germany might be his last. He wanted to move back to California and try something a little different. I looked forward to this- to his being a short flight away. I don’t know why this happened or really even what happened. I'm sick, I'm sad and I'm angry. I don't know how to say goodbye to someone who knew me better then anyone. Someone who I share so many memories with. I know he'd want us all to be strong. To celebrate his life. To tell our stories and remember him for the person he was and the person he became. It almost doesn’t seem real- I will miss you bro!!! Jonny

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Molly (Thompson) Pendlebury

The tragic news of Brian is still unbelievable to me and I think I’m not allowing myself to let it sink in.  I can’t bare the thought of it.  I have nothing but wonderful memories of him.  It had been years since I had seen him, luckily I have been able to speak with him on the phone though since that time.  I’ll treasure all of my time with him both in person and on the phone with him.  He was an incredible person whom I dare say was liked by anyone he ever came in contact with. 

The attached pictures are not good ones sadly as I had a less than adequate camera back then.  I doubt they would work for your website, but I guess I just wanted to share them.  They were taken at a restaurant in TN in November 2000.  My husband and I were on the way to Rhode Island and managed to stop through to visit my Dad and Connie just as they were preparing to go to the IAAPA convention. 

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J.D. Stull

I had the privilege and honor of knowing Brian for over 20 years. I met Brian in college where we were roommates and best friends. To despite, the geographical differences through the years I have always and will always consider Brian to be my best friend. Brian and I often referred to each other as “The brother I never had”. When I had my only child “Alanna” there was one and only person I wanted to have as the Godfather, Brian. I could write several novels about him but I will try to keep it short.

Brian touched my life is so many ways, I am sure many of you will remember Brian’s personality which could light up a room. I will always remember what a warm caring person Brian was on the inside. Many years ago, I had my heartbroken for the first time and was completely devastated; it was Brian who was there for me. It was a low point of my life and just talking to Brian made me feel better but that was not enough for him, he took off a week of work and flew to Northern California to be with me. That was truly one of the nicest things anyone has ever done.

I remember visiting Brian two and half years ago in Japan. His apartment was not filled with pictures of him doing stunts or traveling the world, it was filled with pictures of his goddaughter “Alanna”, I was simply amazed at how many people there knew who she was, Brian or “Uncle Bri” as my daughter knows him was the best godfather any girl could ever have, I am so sad that he will never see her grow up.

I visited Brian in almost every place he ever lived from Texas, to Germany to Japan. We always had a great time together. Our lives took different paths through the years but we always had a special connection. I always felt Brian and I would be sitting around telling stories when we were old. Brian and I had a saying when we were trying to decide if we should do something. One of us would say “We would be cheating ourselves if we didn’t” and the other one of us would always finish with “And you know how we feel about cheating ourselves”. Brian never cheated himself; he always lived life to the fullest. He did what made him happy and he made many other people happy along the way.

I feel as though a part of me died in that car with Brian on the autobahn, Brian was a brother to me, a brother who died way too soon. I look forward to celebrating Brian’s life because that is what he would have wanted. He will always be in my heart. I am very saddened but so grateful the 20 years I had with him.

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Chris Anderson

Brian and I were best friends in High School. As with Jonny, Brian was like a brother to me. We did everything together during those awkward years of junior high to graduation….from first barefoot run to first time over a ski jump to first ski shows to slamming basket balls to football to snowmobiling to our version of motor cross…and yes, we did a “bit” of partying…we had the best times… I always tried to keep up with Brian but eventually found it was not possible to keep pace with his natural abilities. Brian was a great friend and always a blast to be around. He taught me to live life to the fullest, to go after your dreams, and to have a can-do attitude. 

I am very sad to lose my friend who I expected to catch up with someday. Brian, thank you for the great memories…I love you! 

Home Phone: 952-997-6188Office Phone: 952-853-1213 
(Toll-free: 877-853-1213) Cell: 612-708-2277

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Lisa (Jorgenson) Frankovich

Here they are, along with my favorite picture and memory of Brian. It was back in 1975 (at least that's what's written on the picture) and Brian was staying at our farm. It must have been around the 4th of July, because we had some fireworks. One type was where you lit it and it would grow into a long, snakelike thing. Brian got the idea to crush it up and put it on our faces and my mom took a picture of the result. I love his expression!

On the top picture with all the cousins, Brian is the second to the left on the top row (yellow shirt), and Jon is to the right of him (blue plaid shirt). Gina is the first on the left in the front row. In fact, if you want to know who they all are, they are:

Front row left to Right: Gina Nelson, Dana Nelson, Melody Nelson, Michelle Henjum, Lezlie Nelson
Middle row: Chad Henjum, Todd Nelson, Joy Nelson, Lisa Jorgenson, Tracy Nelson, Kyle Boie (the first great-grandchild), Steve Boie
Back row: Jeffrey Jorgenson, Brian Nelson, Jon Nelson, Roger Nelson, Dean Nelson, David Jorgenson

In the bottom picture Brian is in the front row on the right (with the white shirt). My brother Jeff is the one on the left, my brother David is the one in the striped shirt and I'm the token girl. My mom had been looking for this picture because she remembered it as a great Brian memory, too, and was very happy that I had already sent it.

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..Monika Sloan sent me your e-mail…here’s a picture of Brian that I always loved…would love for you to post it on your site. It’s from Marine World water ski show (1998?)… has that great smile of his….

Wendy Lynch
American Pacific Mortgage
2868 Prospect Park Drive #145
Rancho Cordova Ca 95670
FAX 916-858-3248

Do not lengthen the quarrel while there is an opportunity of escaping.

-Latin Proverb

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Every memory I have of Brain makes me laugh and smile. I fully enjoyed the many years we skied together especially the many jokes we played on each other. I wish I could share all the wonderful stories and pictures I have...from our many years at Marine World to our adventures in Germany. We will miss Hollywood dearly!

Monika and Greg Sloan

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Brian and Dave Ohnsted

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During our trip Brian becomes a real great friend and the trip was the biggest fun of my life.

There are so many stories to tell about the good times we had – I think, I can read a book about that.

Here is only one:

We came from a winefest in Neustadt with my car and we were on the way to Brains apartment in Hassloch, when he said: “Hey Christian, do you see these guys running on the right side, something is wrong with them???

And a few seconds later, we saw and old lady screaming: Help, help, they have my bag and my money.

I stopped immediately, Brian jumped out of the car and after a short check, if the lady is OK, he ran behind these to guys.

I turned the car with squeaking wheels and try to catch the thieves with the car.

The police comes only a few minutes later and they cared about the lady during Brian and me tried to catch the two guys. We failed, but the police said: “Thank you guys, we need more people like you!!”

A few days later the chief of the Neustadt Police Department send us a letter and said thank you again and they send us a golden card (like a credit card) with a “Thank you” on it and the sign of the police department.

Brian asked me, if that is a “Come out of German jail” card. 

Since that time we called each other “Starsky (= Brian) and Hutch (me)!!

I will miss Starsky a lot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sorry for my bad English. When I’m able to, I send you more stories about the great time we had together in Germany and on our trip in January!!

Enclosed you find a picture, made with my cell phone, when we were with Dave Ohnsted in Phoenix for a beer in Applebys! (And one pic for you!)

Best wishes from a Holiday park which never will be the same without my wingman Brain!!!


A short story re. Brian.  I skied with Hollywood at Sea World in San Diego .  We did the Beach Blanket Ski Party theme.  On Saturday afternoon, I was snow skiing with my wife and son in Keystone Colorado .  We took a break at the top of the mountain to enjoy a few refreshing adult beverages.  As we were relaxing and enjoying the good times,  2 songs from Beach Blanket were randomly played in the lodge.  I thought it was funny at the time and tried to call Chucky on my cell phone to laugh about it.  I did not find out about Brian until I got back to Texas on Sunday night.  It makes sense now.  He will be missed!

Mike Spence  

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Hollywood and I went to school at the big city of Spicer MN pop 1000 
(on a good day!) He was one of the original Little Crow Ski Team 
members and actually introduced me to PBR! (Thanks for that Wood!) I 
would be selfish to say that he was my big brother, he was everyone's 
big brother. I just want to say thanks for the fun that we had all 
over the world and I will see you again my friend. I love you and 
can't thank you enough for the laughs and all your stories that took 
an hour to tell!  Team Spicer,  Chad Thompson "CT"

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Brian is my daughter Alanna’s Godfather and like every thing else he was wonderful at it! He has always been “Uncle Bri” to us.

I will forever hear Brian and Alanna’s laugh as they both were in her Scooby Doo tent in my living room playing together. He loved her like his own. He called her his beautiful Alanna Banana! He used to take her around Marine World like a proud papa and show her off to everyone.

He would send her beautiful gifts from around the world with letters that will be forever cherished.

I know everyone who ever knew Brian feels as blessed as I am to have had him for my friend. He was always there for me and my daughter. He will always be in our hearts.

We will miss you forever Uncle Bri

Love Laura & Alanna Banana Stull

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(Lt to Rt) Tony Vella, Riddler Dave, Jolene, Brian and Richie-Rich

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Cheryl Lemin

My heart aches for Brian's family and fellow friends. My family and I are very devastated as well. Thinking back, it's difficult to pick a favorite memory because they ALL were so good!

 Besides working at the same park (SFMW), I used to pet sit a lot at the house he was staying in. It was great just hanging out with him, drinking a couple of beers, eating some good food, watching some British TV shows, and listening to his wonderful funny stories. 

My family and I had unofficially adopted him into ours. I called him "my brother". It was always a good day when Brian would call us, from where ever he was in the world, to see how we all were doing. Even though he was always so busy, he would care enough to call. That's how genuine he was! 

I remember at an awards banquet, when we presented him with the quilt my mom made for him.  Everyone signed it, so he could take us all with him
throughout his travels in the world. I think that was the only time I have ever seen him speechless in the 8 years I knew him. A friend recently told me: "There are friends, and then there are friends who have touched your life". Brian certainly did touch our lives! We will never, ever forget him. 

We will always love you Brian.-

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Andy, Brian and John at Holiday Park in Germany last May

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Andy, Brian and John getting ready to race go-carts

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Brian at the ski show last year at Holiday Park

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I am Gina - Brian's sister. He is such a wonderful, funny guy that always lived life to the fullest and laughed from his heart. We just can't believe he's gone and we're never going to get to see him again. I feel as though there's a gaping, empty hole in my chest knowing he's gone and unfortunately, life just won't be the same without him in it. But, I know Brian wouldn't want everyone feeling sad and blue about him being gone. He'd want us all to remember the good times and special moments we all shared with him (usually laughing at one of his stories). 

My husband Andy and I are just so thankful that he got to spend time with his niece Josephine. He was such a warm and loving uncle and I know how much he would have wanted to watch her grow up and be here for her. He will always be here however, in our hearts and thoughts and we will tell Josie all the funny and wonderful stories about her Uncle Brian as she grows up. We're also so lucky to have spent some time with him before he left for Germany. We often would go 6 months to a year and a half between visits, so it was a blessing to see him so much over the past few months. The same is true for my parents - they were able to spend the past few months with him - fishing, hunting, hanging out, putting him to work on house projects, watching movies, etc. He became quite a popular character around the tiny town of Woonsocket, S.D. that my parents call home. He met several friends the short time he was there, in fact, he knows more people in Woonsocket than my parents do! It seems everywhere Brian went, all over the world, he always made so many friends.

We sure are going to miss him. We love you Brian and you will always be in our hearts and minds, we'll never forget you. We love you.

Andy McCabe 
McCabe Tile & Stone, Inc. 
Tel: 651-247-7286 
Fax: 651-641-1048 

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Left: Andy (my husband), John Neary (a friend from England) and Brian after racing go-carts in Germany last May
Brian with our dog Buck, who he loved to play with 
Right:  C
ousins Ashley, Jessie, Lichele with Brian this past fall at our house in St. Paul

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Left: Andy, Brian, John and myself in Heidelberg, Germany last May while I was pregnant with Josephine
Center: Our parents (Jim and Jeanine), myself, Brian and Josephine
Right: Josephine, Brian and Me (Gina) this past fall at our house in St. Paul

I am touched by the comments and letters written by Brians friends and family.I had only met Brian a few times as I am a friend of his parents here in SD. I know how much they enjoyed having him spend time with them in his "off season".

I should not be surprised to see the comments about Brian . Knowing his parents as I know them, it is easy to see why he was the kind of person he was. This website is such a great way to honor him and his family.
Thank you so much -Lee Buffington,

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Man o man! You will be surely missed! We had some great times together. Jill, Jake, Kurt and I can"t believe you are gone. Here's a photo of you and I at the beer garden in Osaka and of course,,we were havin fun!!

Cheers big fella,

Nello (Peter Nelson)

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Our friend, a man of kindness and life.
We share a bond – as we have been blessed 
To have known a man so great, so wonderful
All who were captured in his wake, 
have been honored by the spirit of our Hollywood.

I met Hollywood 2002’ at the ‘Worlds Hydrofoiling’ competition in Parker AZ.

We hit it off, he is the only person I’ve ever seen come out of a foil in Flight. 10’ feet up he went on way and the foil spiraled the other. When he came up from the fall with that great grin on his face – he wondered if he had maybe not connected the belt just right. He went out again and put on a show.

We kept in touch; I was able to meet up with him in Florida, met many of his good friends. Gary you were unforgettable. I got to hear so many stories – the adventures of people in a unique and special world. 

Reading the letters from his friends and family that I had heard so much about. I felt as if I already new you. Hollywood had that special gift of including those around, making you feel as if you belonged.

I have 2-CD’s full of pictures from my trip to Japan. 

He and Christian spent New Years day with me, it was raining – we just stayed in – Cooked and talked, they both had cameras with a great photo log of their journey. I got to see pic’s of his parents home – the special time he had spent with them. He was so happy that he had spent the extra time at home. His family meant so much. When he was in the States, there were so many people who invited him stay with them. He felt bad about missing any of them. 

I know I will TREASURE – forever the time spent with Hollywood.

He gave me confidence, understanding, zest, smiles, & laughter. 

His friend - Dani

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This is Matt Minich, a good friend of Hollywood’s. We worked together in Thailand for a couple years and had seen each other a bunch over the last few years. He was at my place for New Years Eve this year and we had a great time together.

I have attached a picture of our team in Thailand. I am the one right in front of Hollywood in the picture. We had a great team and everyone in that picture loved Hollywood. Please post as you see fit. I don’t have time to write a story right now. I have many to share.


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Brian is my cousin & so much more. As many of you have said, he was the brother I never had and most of all he was my friend. I have many great memories of Brian and want to share a few from when we were much younger at his house in Prior Lake or our grandparents in Wabasso. 

In the winter we would build great show forts.... o.k. Brian would do all the work, but he made sure there was always room for me. He started his love of stunts early where it was not just enough to sled down the hill in his back yard, he had to make a huge jump at the end. If you hit the jump wrong it would launch you into the side of the house. In the summer we would ride our John Deer bikes (yes, John Deer at one time made bikes and we each had a yellow one) through the neighbor hood and into the woods. Or hang out and play with the neighbor kids. At night when we were supposed to be sleeping we would lie awake giggling for hours, mostly at the stories Brian would tell. Most boys back then wouldn't want to hang out with a girl, but Brian just treated my like one of the guys! 

I love you Brian!

Lichele Werner

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Here are some great pics of our legend mate “Hollywood” what a sad sad event. We will miss him dearly. 

If you would like to put them on your site, he always wanted to ski with us in Australia, and thank God he fulfilled another one of his dreams.


Deon Ellison
H2O Entertainment
Mobile: 0415 211626

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I worked under Brian at Holiday Park and Marine World and Paul did so at Marine World as well. We were bringing up "Hollywood" stories the other day and Paul told me one that sums up how we remember Brian. 

Paul said that everyone was sitting around before a ski show one afternoon, when Brian got a call from the front office. They were apologizing for calling so late to show-time, but were wondering if any of the skiers could help them out.  There was a young boy with them who was very sick with cancer - he had always dreamed of meeting Batman in person and was so sad to find out that there was no Batman show this year (it had been the year before). Brian's instant reply was "No problem, bring him down." He got off the phone and starting digging for last years' costumes. Brian and Paul dressed up as Batman and Robin and I am sure that the boy's smile was as big as Brian's when he saw Batman. 

What a big, strong guy with a bigger-than-ever heart! God bless all of his family, many friends and this years' Holiday Park team. 

Joey Gabrielson and Paul O'Connor 

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I met Brian in 1998 at Marine World during a Lake Chabot clean up. No one wanted to volunteer to get into the aluminum boat and float around the lake for garbage and whatever else was to be found. Before ya know it, Brian and I were out in the boat on the lake with rubber gloves and plastic bags. As gross as it all was, we laughed alot and almost even fell in a few times. Who would have thought that as smelly as we both were that either one of us would be attracted to the other. This was only the start of our four year dating spree and a great friendship.

Brian won my heart. We spent a lot of time together when he was in California at Marine World. I have a lot of happy memories as well as sad ones. But as we all know, Brian would only want us to remember the good times and keep on smilin'. He would often bring me roses or stuffed animals, just because. 
There was one time Brian gave me a stuffed horse with black spots all over it and a card in memory of the colt I had lost. In the card it was signed Love always Brian and Bailea bug. Bailea is my dog who Brian loved as his own. I just remember the times when he would be on the bed giggling like a school boy because she would be licking him like crazy on his face.
Brian had the ability to see good in everyone no matter what. He had a heart of gold, as anyone would know who had the opportunity to spend time with him. Brian is the only guy my father ever approved of. That's says alot. Your parents raised you well. They should be proud.
Brian, You are a one of a kind person. I will miss you terribly. Although you are not here in body you are with each and every one of us in spirit. I LOVE YOU, YA BIG LUGG. 

Crysteena Tillie 

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My name is Dave Schneider. I grew up with Johnny in Willmar. In Jr. High my family bought a cabin on Green Lake and it was there I met Brian and Chris Anderson. Brian was a "natural;" anything he tried he quickly mastered! He was there with Chris, Andy, Chad, Mike, Judd, DH, Jason, Dave and Lisa Dybsand and others when we brought back the Little Crow Ski Club (now it's a team and they're world-famous). Our "tow boat," if you could call it that, was an insurance-salvaged 16' Glastron with a V6 Merc. on the back. It was overpowered by 50 hp. Brian "wowed" the crowds but also did a lot of driving hauling little kids around the pond. He wrapped ropes, painted the jump, and built docks like we all did. He was a vital part of the club. My favorite memory of Brian; we were skiing one evening on Green Lake in 1983. Looked kinda like the picture here. I commented that this was a beautiful place and I don't want to move away. He knew, even back then, he'd make his life as a pro and go on to do bigger things. He told me he'd come back, as an old man, and "teach me some new tricks!" I guess I was looking forward to skiing with him again. I'll have to wait for the after-life to do that, I guess. 

God's Speed Brian!

This is Hollywood at his finest. I have had many, many fun times with him. From Sea World San Diego in 1991 till Universal Studios Japan in 2004. His performance in the Waterworld show in Japan is one that we relate to year after year when I remount the show with new performers.


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To the KING OF SWING I miss you already! Brain was one of those friends that you might not see for a year or more but whenever you caught back up together it was like you never really spent any time away from each other.
A true friend and MATE.
Brian had the amazing ability to bring a glow and a spark into any room he walked into. As a show skier he was one of the best I have ever had the chance to work with! A TRUE SHOWMAN! One of the old school guys who would put his body on the line just to make sure that the show would go on. I know all the skiers in Germany would be having a hard time dealing with this latest tragedy, but i am sure that Brian would want you guys to dig deep and make it happen! 
Brian you will be sorely missed but never forgotten, Your mate DaleIE Corser
Ph:+61 414 552781 

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I can still picture him doing a gainer off the ramp on doubles next to whomever else was jumping to (you can never remember who because watching Hollywood for what he was about to do) landing on one straight legged with the other already in the air kicked towards the crowd with one arm already off the handle and pointing towards the crowd show boating. The only one I ever saw so consistent on showing it up like that. You could set the consistency of the sun rising on that move with him.

I met Hollywood at Marine World in the show there. I wasn’t there all the time and still managed to wreck three boats that year but Hollywood and Gary just joked about it from the end I heard from Brian anyway. I’m sure he took the grief for me. I can remember a time when I was still riding as air chair and I got a new deck that I thought was kind of cool and was a little excited about having something different, well I realized it wasn’t as soon I walked up with it at the show and Hollywood quickly pointed out to me that is was a ‘Fag Flag’ and it was, the whole rainbow part of it; full rainbow. I saw it in his eye before he ever spoke and realized the grief I was about to hear for a long time.

I think the last time I saw Hollywood was the last Hydrofoil Worlds I went to in 2002. He just showed up between shows because he had time; I didn’t even know he was coming and it was a great surprise. I could never get him to foil around me much because he would always try and keep up and over rotate a front flip and be done. So he was in his regular mode of kicking back and partying and having a good time while we all were serious. He helped with me on the announcing some and was the basic cheerleader when I rode next to all my friends and family that were there. Well, I won and he was one of the ones more excited about it then me like everyone else there for me it seemed. We went to the bar that night on the Parker strip on the Colorado River. We went by boat and it was the typical scene as we all can picture with Hollywood around a bunch of us like him. Anyway, we were heading back in the boat with about 15 of us it seemed with the stereo as loud as loud can be where you can’t hear yourself think and I hear Hollywood howling at the moon basically at the early morning hour and I turn around and he’s hanging out the side of the boat barefooting hanging on to the tower. Typical Hollywood right.

I don’t remember all the times in between that we hung out but it didn’t matter because we always picked right up like no time had passed at all. He was one of those few friends in my life. I remember the last night at the Worlds and was staying in our room with Bobbi and I. He came in late buzzing I’m sure as usual and he was still ready to talk so we all three laid there in the dark with Hollywood probably naked or in some kind of leopard pattern, way to small cut underwear laughing and joking it up.

I have had the hardest year of my life the past year and this hit me pretty hard when I was already feeling down as I’m sure it did everyone who knew him. I looked forward being back on the west coast to where I could see him again between shows. I talked to him this year when he was in LA and he was all excited that the KGB interrogated him on his last trip and he could see the mountains of Iran from his window. I wish the KGB still had a live person to follow up with the next time he was in their neck of the woods and I still wish I could look forward to seeing my friend again the next time he was in my neck of the woods and just happened to show up like he did.

A friend of mine that knew Brian keeps telling me that he is in a better place. He was always in a better place then most of us but I still want my friend back to share life with and that enjoyment and laughter he always created in all of us; I know I could sure use that now.

Hollywood will be very sorely missed for a very long time. I wish everyone the best with this loss we all feel.

Thank you,

Damon Moore
415 244 8529

PS The only pictures I could find and obviously Hollywood is showing the wear from the night before much better then me.

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I got to know Brian in Holiday Park last year and met him at some winefests around Haßloch. I got to know him as a very friendly, always smiling and open minded person. He was a funny guy. He enjoyed life. 

At Friday (the day before the accident) I read at, that he would be coming back to Holiday Park this season. I was happy, that we would meet and have some small talks again.

It's hard to describe the feelings towards Brian's family. I was nearly in the same sitation in 2001 with my own parents. 

Don't be afraid, he will get into good hands. There are a lot of people at the door to heaven who are waiting for him and tell the stories he shared with all of you. He's going to watch down on all of us, wait until our own time is come and welcome us at the door, where we will meet all our deceased friends and relatives.

I'm very happy that I was allowed to get to know Brian. It's an honor for me. 

I think it will be a large hole in the waterskiworld. God, take him into your arms and take care of him!

See you when we will get there... Angela

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What you're doing for all Brians friends, family and all who loved him is amazing! I can't tell you how much hearing everyones stories has really helped me! If you have some room...please share the poem I wrote which I will be reading at the start of a gathering to honor Brian tomorrow night with all who knew him at Six Flags Marineworld...

Thank You...
Kym McNicholas

Download the Microsoft copy she sent 












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My family and I wanted to share our experience with Brian.

My son was the young boy who was ill with cancer. He really wanted so badly to go to Marine World, but we were concerned with the heat and getting overly tired when a friend of my parents, Jean, arranged for an awesome day at Marine World where we had the pleasure of meeting "Batman and Robin". 

We waited for the ski/boat show to end. It was soooo hot, but we were enjoying the show very much and was very impressed with the talent of the skiers. We were having so much fun. After the show, my son was told by Jean there was a surprise for him. We were taken to the back of the staging area and got to meet "Batman and Robin". (Batman of course being Brian). These two young men, especially Batman, were dripping from the heat of the day, but a smile never left their faces. It meant so much to my boys (and us), we felt so fortunate grateful to these to young men who obviously were so loving and giving. They didn't have to get dressed up. They had just finished performing and in that heat to get dressed up in full costume was awesome. Sometimes its hard for me to explain how important moments like these were to my family when my youngest son was so ill. That day was very precious to us. Even my parents kept the Marine World picture with Batman and Robin as their Desktop Wallpaper these last 2 years. It was an important and special day for us all.

We have sent some pictures of those special moments to share. 

I don't know how anyone whoever came in contact with Brian could not feel touched by his wonderful and loving heart. What a blessing he has been to us and so many others. God bless his family. They can feel proud that they have such a fine young man as their son. We certainly felt blessed getting to meet him. Thank you.

Sandy & Kent Harvey 

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Farewell Hollywood
I was fortunate to spend quite a few sections of my life with this wonderful man. San Diego, Thailand and Japan. He became a very good friend and my heart is broken with this terrible news. He gave the world his personality and performances that are hard to beat. I love you man. 

Rest in peace my friend.
Scott Chapdelaine

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I sat with John and Liz Nelson tonight and felt their pain.... all I can say to console any of you reading this is that Brian from the first moment I met him was a truely special man, balanced and happy, giving back to the community through charity. I felt priveledged to have known such a kind soul... God Bless you Brian.. Tania xx 

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My name is Jonathan Linke. I am 9 years old and am Jim and Jeanine’s neighbor by Woonsocket SD (Brian’s mom and dad). In the fall, I went pheasant hunting with him. We had a lot of fun and Brian took lots of pictures. He even took one of me holding my gun. I even almost hit a pheasant. We got a lot of pheasants. I am sending two pictures of the hunters with the pheasants, his cousin Steve, his uncle Larry, his dad Jim and Brian. I am sending another picture of Brian’s dad Jim with their horses. Brian really liked staying at his mom and dad’s farm by Woonsocket. He thought Woonsocket was a neat little town (so do I). On another day, Brian and his family came and helped put siding on our house. While they were here, they used some of my tools and I got to help. They almost took my hammer home with them. Brian took more pictures that day. He always had a camera along. He took one of me with my cat Rosie and another of me teasing Jim (his Dad) with the tape measure. They all came to our house for supper that night and Brian had made a slide show of all these pictures. He also showed us videos of him water skiing and his shows. His favorite ones to show us were his wipeouts! He said “you have to have a strong neck to do what I do.” My brothers and sister and I showed him a lot of stuff while he was at our house. We had a lot of fun and laughed a lot when Brian was there. The last time Brian was at our house was on March 3rd for a fish supper. You should have seen how much fish he could eat! He really liked my mom’s brownies too! When Jim and Jeanine came home this weekend, we tried to cheer them up (I think we did). We talked about Brian and we even let a rainbow of balloons float up to heaven to him. I will always remember Brian. He gave me two pictures that he took of me. I will think of Brian and how much fun he was when I look at them. Brian was one of my best friends. I will really miss him. 

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batman.jpg (151362 bytes) My son Connor met Batman at Marine World 5-6 yrs ago. Connor was very excited to see the show and then meet Batman in person. A couple years went by and Damon Moore brought Brian Nelson to our house and saw this picture on the wall. We tried to explain to Connor that Brian was the man behind the mask. I think Connor thinks that Brian is really Batman. We are grateful for this and other memories. All our best to his family and friends.

George & Vicki Gallegos

Brian.JPG (176069 bytes) I worked for Brian for two years at Marine World and it was a great time. He was just one of the guys and I know it frustrated him that we couldn't take him serious as a "boss" sometimes. I will always remember the "awkward" story times in the locker room! (If anybody worked with him, they'll know what I'm talking about.) I will forever remember his laugh and his smile. He will surely be missed by all who knew him.

Danny Ryder

Well I really dont know what story to tell, had so many with Brian. I did my first ski show with Brian and actually lived with him for 4 months. He was the manager for the Marine World Show and come to think about it, he is the only manager that I never got fired from. HEHE I kept him busy, he was always saving my butt. Man, I am going to miss him. We would always go to Chicken Express to eat after work. He absolutely loved eating there everyday. I also remember Brain could never take a day off. When he finally did, he got called back into work. Something always went wrong when he tried to leave for a day.  Hollywood you will be missed man. Thanks for taking the heat for all of my stupidity. 


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Becky and I skied with Brian in Marine World, Germany and Brazil. We had not talked to Brian in over a year until just out of the blue before he left for Germany, he called and we both got to talk to him for a while. It was just as easy to talk to him then as it was all the time we worked for him. We all said we would stay in touch better and I had just got his contact info again the day before the accident. I am sorry that I could not talk to my friend one more time and tell him how much I appreciated how much he taught me and how much we both respected him. We are happy to have shared so many memories with Brian and have Brian in so many of our stories. We will never forget all the great times that so many of us have shared with him. It has been over a week now and it is still so hard to come to terms with the fact that we will not see his smile again in person. Brian was so full of life and he will want us all to remember him just the way we are, by celebrating his life and sharing stories of times spent with “HOLLYWOOD” WE’LL MISS YOU BRIAN

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"I only worked with Brain Nelson the summer of 2000 doing the Batman Water Thrill Spectacular at Six Flags Marine World. But it stands as one of the greatest times of my life. Not just for the people I worked with, but because I was lucky enough to have Brain not only as boss, but Batman to my Riddler. And even though he successfully beat me EVERY show, he was a good friend, helped build confidence in my performance, and took me to my first wet T-shirt contest... but that's another story. Although I haven't heard from him in years, I will miss him. I'm thankful that I do have such great memories of that summer."

I've also attached two pics 



With Love and Prayer may God embrace you in Heaven
 as you have embraced so many here on Earth. 


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