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Nicholas Nelson M.D.

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Nicholas Nelson M.D. Obituary
Nicholas Nelson M.D. TOPSHAM, ME Nicholas Macy Nelson M.D., 84, died at his home at the Highlands Retirement Community in Topsham, Maine, on Sunday, January 26. The third of four sons, he was born in Baltimore, Md. on June 11, 1929, to Cyril and Elise (Macy) Nelson and was raised in New Brunswick, N.J. He was educated at Deerfield Academy (1946), Yale University (1950), and Cornell University Medical College (1954). Immediately upon graduation from medical school, he married Virginia Araminta Wilke and began his internship, followed by a residency at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. He served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps in France (1956-1958) and upon his return to the U.S., became a Senior Resident at Children's Hospital Medical Center in Boston. He then accepted a Fellowship at the Boston Lying-In Hospital under the supervision of Dr. Clement Smith, considered the father of neonatology, becoming one of the first pediatricians in the then new discipline. After three years in private practice in his hometown of New Brunswick, N.J., he returned to the Boston area as the Senior Pediatrician and Associate Director in the Laboratory for Neonatal Research at Boston Hospital for Women, where he could pursue his passion for research and education in neonatology. In 1970, he was invited to become the Founding Chairman of Pediatrics for the Penn State University College of Medicine in Hershey, Pa., and over the next 18 years built an outstanding department of individuals who loved what he loved - children, education, and research. Dr. Nelson stepped down as Chair in 1989 but continued as a professor in the Department of Pediatrics until his retirement in 1998, during which time he took a leave of absence to care full-time for his beloved wife of 39 years who died peacefully at home in 1993. In addition to his love of children and family, he thoroughly enjoyed the written word and throughout his career authored and edited many medical articles, journals, and textbooks. His textbook on neonatology, written in partnership with his mentor Dr. Smith, is considered a classic in the field. A loving, supportive, and compassionate husband, father, and grandfather, Nick instilled in his children an appreciation for lifelong learning and pursuing a career they love. When asked by his youngest daughter, "Dad, are you reading that for work or for fun?" he responded, "That's the best part, I can't tell the difference." Upon his retirement, he took great pleasure in continuing his education, traveling, attending music and arts performances, engaging in lively political discussions, and visiting family. His central focus each year was the time spent on Monhegan Island - his family's treasured summer home since 1922 - where he was surrounded by his four children, their families and friends, his nieces and nephews, and many lifelong friends. A summer resident of Maine his entire life, he became a year-round resident in 2003. In addition to his wife, Nicholas was preceded in death by his three brothers, Guerdon, Irwin, and Michael. He is survived by his four children, Elise Macy Nelson (Erik Lilleskov) of Houghton, Mich., Wilke Edward Nelson (Karen) of Centreville, Va., Holden Williams Nelson (Susan) of North Yarmouth, Maine; and Maren Nelson Nagem of Falmouth, Maine; as well as nine grandchildren, Nick, Lena, Allie, Eli, Will, Rory, Noah, Ben, and Nate. A private memorial service will be held this summer. Memorial donations may be made in honor of Nicholas M. Nelson to Penn State Hershey, supporting pediatric education and research at PSH Children's Hospital, about which Nick was so passionate ( Arrangements are by Stetson's Funeral Home, 12 Federal St., Brunswick, Maine, where memorial condolences may be expressed at
Published in Lebanon Daily News on Feb. 6, 2014
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