Michael (Mike) was born in Walnut Creek California on August 11, 1988. He started elementary school in Santa Cruz Bolivia, then went on to attend school in Sugar Land, Texas, Danville, California, and then graduated High School in Sugar Land, Texas. He started college life at the Rosen School of Hospitality at the University of Central Florida. After a year at UCF he then transferred to Full Sail University in Winter Park Florida, where he graduated with a Bachelors degree in Audio Engineering.
Mike moved to Denver Colorado in 2013 to pursue his dream of being an audio engineering technician. He had jobs with multiple companies there including ESPN Radio and the Comedy Club (where he met and ran sound boards for multiple high profile comedians). He decided to continue his education in Denver by obtaining an AA degree from the Community College of Aurora in General Business, and then started working towards his degree in Finance/Accounting at the University of Colorado-Denver. In 2019, he moved back to Orlando, FL to be closer to family and friends.
Once back in Orlando, he started to work as a volunteer at First Orlando Church by helping them with their streaming services for their Monday night service. He then landed a part time job at Disney as an Entertainment tech in early 2020. When COVID hit, he was furloughed from Disney, but remained a cast member until the end of 2020. In the meantime, he finished up more Finance classes at Valencia and was in the process of transferring back to UCF to finish his Bachelors Degree in Finance.
Mike had two real passions, sports and music. He was a Varsity Basketball Player in High School and set a school record for 3 pointers in a single game. He was an avid football fan of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (we watched the Super Bowl Video they put out in 2002 more times than you can imagine), the Oklahoma Sooners and the UCF Knights. He managed to attend several Sooner and UCF games over the years. But the latest thrill was seeing his beloved Buccaneers win another Super Bowl in 2021. But it wasn’t only football, he loved Premier League Soccer (or properly “football” in the UK), NBA basketball (an avid Warriors fan), hockey, UFC, you name it, he knew more about it than anyone we could imagine. He had discussions going with all his friends and family on all of those sports.
His music passion started at a young age. We realized at the age of about 5, while taking piano lessons, that he had “perfect pitch”. He could hear a note and know what it was. That carried into his desire to do audio engineering at Full Sail University, where he learned how to mix, and he did some independent mixing for various musician friends as he pursued other careers. His favorite band was 311. He traveled multiple places in the US to see them and always tuned into “311 Day” on March 11 every year. His real career desire was to be hired back into Disney as an entertainment tech in a post Covid world.
In addition to all of this, Mike was an avid reader. One of the most intellectual and knowledgeable people you could ever meet. His room was full of books on every subject you can imagine, and he could carry on a competent conversation on just about any of them.
But more than any of his passions, Mike was a compassionate soul. His legacy was being able to help people, and he understood the downtrodden people whose life was not so good. He was able to meet and identify with people of completely different backgrounds and strike up a friendship. He had a spiritual sense to him from a very young age (he memorized Psalm 91 at age 5) and he confirmed his faith in Christianity when he arranged to be baptized at First Orlando in December 2018 when he was at a particularly low point in life.
Mike passed away peacefully while working on his laptop on April 1, 2021. Mike had been dealing with a lot of serious medical issues over the past years and was determined to find the cause of his pain. Mike never quit in pursuing his dreams even while being frustrated with doctors being unable to diagnose his pain. Mike lived life with a positive attitude and truly had a desire to make others happy. He was also a great proponent for mental health. He would want anyone reading this to live with a positive attitude and to enjoy life to the fullest.
We miss him dearly, but know he is not suffering any longer. We know he is in heaven with Grandpa Sunday (trying to find a way to beat him in chess) and Grandma and Grandpa Nelson (we are sure Granny is fixing him more of his favorite mac and cheese) and other family members. We know we will see him again.
Mike is survived by his parents, Kenneth Nelson and Glenda Sunday-Nelson, and his brother and sister-in-law, Glen and Zoe Nelson.
In lieu of flowers, we ask everyone to donate to a local Mental Health foundation in Michael Nelson’s name. He was a big advocate of Mental Health issues.