Pat Nelson was a fourth generation lawyer. He was the son of William Shannon Nelson, a President of the South Carolina Bar Association and Nina Geddes Nelson; grandson of P.H. Nelson, a Fifth Circuit Solicitor; and great-grandson of Col. William Shannon. He attended Richland County public schools and the University of South Carolina, earning his A.B. in 1930 and his LL.B. in 1933. He practiced with his father’s firm which became Nelson, Mullins, Grier and Scarborough.
He married Elizabeth Juliet Nicholson of Edgefield and they had two daughters and a lawyer son. In World War II, he served as a Major in the U.S. Marine Corps in the South Pacific. He served in the South Carolina State House of Representatives.
He combined a military bearing with a quiet manner and friendly disposition. He loved hunting and fishing for the companionship it allowed with his devoted friends.
He served as President of the Richland County Bar Association; Secretary of the Board on Grievances and Discipline; and as a member of the American Bar Association.
A specialist in the defense of tort litigation, he was thorough in preparation, straightforward in presentation and tenacious and patient in protecting his client’s interests.
His reputation was as a wise counsel and an able trial lawyer.