H. H. “Red” and Ruth H. Nelson played a considerable role, not only in their families’ lives, but also many others. They spent a lifetime helping those in need, especially children. Their family and the entire community were blessed by their 94 years of life.
Howard, or “Red” as he preferred, was born June 2, 1912 on a farm in Herman, Nebraska. Ruth was born January 10, 1913 in Council Bluffs.
Red left the family home in Herman, Nebraska at the age of 12 and moved on his own to Omaha. In current times, being on your own at that age seems incredible. However, at the turn of the century, child labor laws did not exist and American factories and mines were filled with children working from dawn to dusk, ages 8 and up. They often worked under deplorable conditions and many were injured or killed.
Red found a room over a restaurant and washed dishes for food, boarding, and a few dollars a month. What was remarkable was that he enrolled at the Omaha Technical High School and completed his high school education while shoveling coal at night at the Woodmen Life Insurance building on Farnam Street.
Following high school, he enrolled at Omaha University, now the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
When hard times hit in the early 1930s, Red was forced to drop out of school and took a job with the Northwestern Telephone Exchange Company where he dug holes for telephone poles across Nebraska. But it was clear that he was a lifelong learner. He returned to school and attained his undergraduate degree in night school. Red and Ruth were married October 11, 1935. Red went back to school and earned his law degree. In those days, however, there wasn’t a great demand for attorneys and in 1945, Red and Ruth started an insurance agency. That agency grew into what is now the SilverStone Group.
Red and Ruth were always very humble and never wanted or sought recognition for their many charitable works. They were loving, generous parents and grandparents and had the welfare, the nurturing and the education of young people always in their hearts.