Waldameer Park and Water World owner Paul Nelson passed away Sunday.

He was 89.

Nelson started working at the park in 1945 at the age of 11. He worked his way up to general manager and took over as owner in 1965.

Nelson ran the park on a daily basis, walking the grounds and talking to patrons.

In recent months, he had been overseeing work on the park's biggest project to date - the huge Rocket Blast water slide.

Over the years, Nelson always seemed to be coming up with new ideas for rides and other attractions at the park, which saw its best financial year ever in 2022.

Nelson's legacy includes his efforts to keep the park affordable for families with things like season passes and no park admission fee, which is unheard of in that industry these days.

In a statement, Waldameer said the park will continue to be family-owned and operated.

Waldameer will continue to be family-owned and operated.

Son-in-law Steve Gorman remains president/general manager and will continue to help operate Waldameer & Water World along with Paul's wife Lane Nelson, daughter Nancy Gorman and grandson Brian Gorman, and our many wonderful employees.

We share the compassion that Paul had to provide a family-oriented park that creates lasting memories for our community and our guests.

It has been an honor to work and learn alongside a true amusement park legend. Paul will be missed by many in our industry and the Erie community.