Obituary – A. Nelson Sills

  1. A.(Andrew) Nelson Sills

of Houston, DE, died on Friday, 24 January 2020. He was 95.

ANS portrait

Nelson was born on 1 Nov 1924 in Baltimore, MD. He was the son of the late David N. Sills Sr. and Helen (Nelson) Sills, and brother of David N. Sills, Jr. and Winifred Leithiser, all of Milford, DE. He graduated from the Virginia Tech class or 1945 with a degree in civil engineering and later became a Professional Engineer. Nelson served in the United States Navy during WWII. He became the chief construction engineer for the State of Delaware Highway Department and later became the General Superintendent at Delaware Park Racetrack from 1963 to 1982. He finished his career working as an engineering and construction consultant for Rollins Truck Leasing, building facilities while getting to train his dogs throughout the country. Nelson also enjoyed designing and building dog training facilities for people in the field trial community.

Nelson enjoyed all things Labrador Retriever and Retriever Field Trials. His wife, Nancy bought him his first Labrador in 1957.

  • He won the National Amateur Retriever Championship in 1964 (Dutchmoor’s Black Mood (Moe)).
  • He was the Chairman of the Field Trial Committee of the National Retriever Club in 1965.
  • He judged the National Retriever Championship twice in 1967 and 1975.
  • He was President of the National Retriever Club in 1969.
  • He was voted “Judge of the Year” by the Professional Retriever Trainer’ Association in 1974.
  • He judged the National Amateur Retriever Championship in 1995.
  • He has accumulated 129 judging points (1 of 6 people to accumulate over 100 Points)
Cole 2009

Nelson & Cole. 2009 NRC event. Dover, Delaware

  • He was an active member of the Del Bay Retriever Club from 1957 until his death and served as its President.
  • He was a member of the Labrador Retriever Club and served as President of the Club from 1992-2012.
  • He served as Delegate to the American Kennel Club (from the LRC) from 1980-2012 and served on the Board of Directors from 1980-1995. During part of that time, he also served as Treasurer for the AKC (1992-1995).
  • He was the winner of the 2001 American Kennel Club Lifetime Achievement Award in the Category of Performance.
  • He was the Founder of the Master National Retriever Stake.
  • He is a recipient of the Master National Retriever Club Vision Award in 1993.
  • He judged the Master National in 2002.
  • He was inducted into the Birddog Hall of Fame in 1995.

Nelson is survived by his wife of 62 years, Nancy (Jones) Sills, of Bridgeville, DE., Daughter Wynne Brantner and her husband Jim of Johnson City, TN, son David N. Sills, IV and his wife Denise of Bear, DE, son Andrew N. Sills Jr. and his wife Lisa, of Roswell, GA., daughter Nancy Ross of Johnson City, TN and 15 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 1 PM on 29 February 2020 at Independent Bible Fellowship Church, Harrington, DE. with a reception to follow at Nancy and Nelson’s home in Houston, DE. Burial will be private.

In lieu of flowers the family has suggested donations to the Labrador Retriever Club (Breed Club) or Del Bay Retriever Club. Arrangements made by Rogers Funeral Home, Milford, DE. 302-422-4025