Audrey Calais Nelson was born on May 9, 1926 in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, the second of three sisters, Jeannette, an older sister and Aileen, a younger. This trio affirms that they were fortunate to grow up in the midst of a large extended family and many close family friends. |
Audrey was high school valedictorian and graduated top of her class from Lafayette Business School before she began to work for several of the most active oil and gas brokerage companies in South Louisiana. It is no surprise that she was the first Oil Queen of the Lafeyette Oil Center. Audrey Calais was famous for her sharp wit, her beauty, her love of fun, and for the ability to manage the properties and the people involved in the land lease rush of the 1950's. Audrey was working for Winston Stokes, a prosperous independent broker in the area, when she was introduced by good friends Joe Graham and Walter Gordon, to a young man representing Grey Wolf Drilling Company. That introduction sparked the beginning of what was to be a lifelong experience for Jim and Audrey.
Audrey Calais and James K. B. Nelson were married on July 30, 1960 at St. Bernard Catholic Church in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, in the company of family and lifelong friends. Soon afterwards, the Nelsons moved to Houston where they created "home" in three places: 1st in an apartment, they both still rave about, later on Myrtlea in West Houston and most recently in Yorkshire subdivision, nearby. Further bonding took place as Audrey and Jim learned to refinish furniture. Their lessons from Les Summers in Bryan helped them turn old furniture into treasured antiques by their own hand. Audrey was an ardent gardener, bringing the Southern charm of azalea and camellia into every yard. She loved a party with family or friends and, with Jim, participated in many get-togethers with friends and especially the Calais and Nelson families. Known for her Louisiana cooking, her quick wit, twinkling eyes and contagious laughter she graced many a gathering with her presence.
Felicia Cecile born on March 23, 1967, was a long awaited child and beloved daughter. Audrey took great pride and joy in Felicia's accomplishments as she developed her own talents and interests. As with others, but especially with Felicia, Audrey was quick to offer emotional support and guidance as Felicia matured into a wise, competent and responsible adult.
During many years of her adult life, Audrey contended with complicated health problems and chronic pain. Her life partner, friend and husband, Jim says, "She was my friend and my hero all of my life. No one knew some of the hard decisions she had to make nor how much through all of that, she continued to help others."
Audrey was an enthusiastic and knowledgeable fan of all sports, being sure to keep a TVguide available in order not to miss an important game. But, above all Audrey was an AGGIE! She attended almost every home game since 1960 and was delighted to be at Jim's side for the 2013 Cotton Bowl game in Dallas. It's difficult to know who enjoyed an Aggie win most-she or her husband. She was a proud and joyful contributor to the endowment of Texas A & M Petroleum Engineering Building and to three Nelson Scholarships in Petroleum Engineering.
She was Jim's wife and friend until she took her last breath. One evening in 2012, Jim had made a business trip to A & M and it got quite late. A friend asked, "Audrey, are you tired; would you like to go to bed and rest?" Her classic response and likely one she had offered throughout her life: "No, I'm fine; I want to wait right here for my husband. I want him to know I always anxiously await his return." It indeed, was a good life.
Audrey Nelson is preceded in death by her parents, Aminte and Adalai Calais; her sister, Jeannette Patin and her husband, Fred Patin; Renee Patin, a niece; her brother-in-law, E. C. "Porter"Andrus; her sister-in-law, Sophia Nelson Harrison; a great niece, Michelle Sadoski; and Tommy La Blanc, a nephew. She is survived by her husband, James K. B. Nelson and her daughter, Felicia Cecile Nelson; her sister, Aileen Calais Andrus; the children of Jeannette and Fred Patin: Ricky Patin, Marie and Neal Trahan, Susie and Tony Patin, Whit Patin, Dana and Billy Patin, Cecile and Raymond Guidry; Tina and Ed Sadoski, Winn and Sherry Andrus, Patricia and Todd Andrus; and numerous grand nieces and nephews. She is also survived by her brother-in-law William Bland Harrison Jr.; a niece, Victoria Harrison Wehnert and nephew, William Bland Harrison III and their children and grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial for Audrey Nelson will be held Tuesday, April 30, at 10:30am at St. John Vianney Catholic Church at 625 Nottingham Oaks Trail, Houston, Texas 77079. Fr. David Konderla, from St. Mary's Catholic Center at Texas A & M University, will join Fr. Troy Gatley to conduct the funeral service. Family and friends are invited for Visitation on Monday from 5pm - 8 pm at Memorial Oaks Chapel, 13001 Katy Fwy, Houston, TX 77079 with a Rosary at 7pm. Burial will be at Memorial Oaks Cemetery immediately following the funeral mass and reception on Tuesday at 1 pm.
Pallbearers are William L. Patin, Charles W. Patin, Thomas F. Patin Jr., Michael Todd Andrus, Keith Anthony Patin, Erwin C. Andrus, Jr., Edward J. Sadoski, William Bland Harrison III.
Honorary Pallbearers include Lt. General John Van Alstyne, John Beall, Eddie Joe Davis, Billy Emanis, Adrian Ryan Guzman, Robert Catterson Hagner, Dan Hardy, Donald Raymond Henderson, Porter Garner, William C. Lonquist, Donald Morris, Robert W. Scott, Gene Smitherman, Ted Reynolds, Tony Stewart, Robert W. Vacek, Jay Wehnert, and L. B. Windham and John Raymond of Breaux Bridge, Louisianna.
The family requests that memorial contributions be made to St. John Vianney Catholic Church or to St. Mary's Catholic Church at 603 Church St., College Station,77840.
The family of Audrey Nelson will be forever grateful for the loving care provided for many years by Marilyn Barnes, Demetria Coldin, Fannie DeCosta, Shawna Head, Debra Moore and LaTrisha Peters.
Published in Houston Chronicle from Apr. 28 to Apr. 29, 2013