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J.D. Nelson started out as a bank teller and became a senior vice president at Boston’s State Street Bank, where he helped establish the public funds division and build it into a $70 billion operation. He also served as chief administrative and budget officer for the Democratic National Committee.
An avid sailor, he settled on a nautical reference when he founded an investment firm. Squeezing two words together, he called it RhumbLine, a term for navigating a direct course from point A to point B.
Mr. Nelson died June 30 in his Boston home. He was 76.
“He was amazing beyond my comprehension,” said Wayne T. Owen, who in 2007 became chief executive of RhumbLine Advisers. “He was everything you wanted in a mentor. “