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NELSON WILLIAM AMBUSH

Obituary Condolences

NELSON WILLIAM AMBUSH Obituary
AMBUSH, Nelson William 96, of Lynn, formerly of Worcester, passed away peacefully Monday, March 5, 2012 with family by his side. Nelson was born in Cambridge, MA, a son of Charles Gillette and Emma Elizabeth (Steems) Ambush. Nelson had two brothers and one sister (all deceased): Benjamin, Charles and Virginia M. (Ambush) Abercrombie. He grew up in Cambridge and graduated from Rindge Technical High School where he was a member of the Drum Corps and track team. He moved to Worcester in 1941 where he lived and worked for 69 years before moving to Lynn in 2010 to be closer to his children. Nelson was married to Shigao Gladys Sato (deceased in 1984) for 43 years with whom he had five children - all college graduates - who survive him: Karen R. Thande of New York City, Reverend Stephen B. Ambush of Reisterstown, MD, Kathy G. Smith of Lynn, MA, June E. Ambush of Revere, MA, Benjamin S. Ambush of Lynn, MA. Nelson was married to Mary Estelle (Hazzard) Harden (deceased in 2009) for 23 years, survived by her daughters Valerie Wilson of Aurora, IL and Sydney Schuyler of Southboro, MA. From both marriages, Nelson is survived by 17 grandchildren; 12 great grandchildren; many nieces, nephews, extended family, friends and his beloved cockatiel Pumpkin. Nelson worked for nearly 50 years as a dental technician, first for his brother Benjamin where he learned his profession and later for several dental laboratories before retiring. Throughout his life, Nelson served in many social/civic organizations and associations, among them: the Cambridge Community Center Forum, the William Monroe Trotter Club, the Dunbar Club, the Cub Scouts of the Mohegan Council, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Committee and the Advisory Council of the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. He also served in many leadership positions in several churches since his teenage years. For decades, Nelson was very active in civil rights, fighting segregation and discrimination wherever it reared its head. In 1944, he assisted in re-activating the Worcester NAACP branch. Over a 60-year period, he held every office of the organization. He was a popular speaker at colleges, high schools, churches and community gatherings on civil rights, race relations and the legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1957, he represented New England at the Prayer Pilgrimage to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, a forerunner to the walk-ins, sit-ins and other public acts that followed during the Civil Rights Movement. He was featured on the radio upon his return. Nelson received numerous citations and recognition awards for his humanitarian activities and civil rights work. He was instrumental in assisting dozens of Kenyans in relocating to New England and getting through college. His long time Worcester home at 337 Lovell Street was affectionately known as "The Other U.S. Kenyan Embassy". He was an amateur weightlifter and 118 pound class third place finisher in the 1933 New England American Continental Weight Lifters Association Championships. In addition to his family, his life's enjoyments included camping; gardening; playing drums; soft shoe and tap dancing; plunking the only three songs he knew on the piano; music; shooting pool; darts; throwing knives, hatchets and axes; horseshoes and writing daily in his diary. Friends and relatives are invited to visit with the family Monday, March 12, 2012 from 5pm to 7pm, followed by a 7pm service, in the Mercadante Funeral Home & Chapel, 370 Plantation Street, WORCESTER, MA 01605 - (508) 754-0486. A second viewing and service will be held in Cambridge, MA, Tuesday, March 13th, 2012 with viewing from 10am-12 Noon with the service beginning at 12 Noon in St. Paul AME Church, 85 Bishop Richard Allen Drive, Cambridge, MA 02139 - (617) 354-8511. Burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Margaret Ann Hazel Missionary Society, organized in 1877 in honor of Nelson's great grandmother, c/o St. Paul AME Church, Christian Life Center, 85 Bishop Richard Allen Drive, Cambridge, MA 02139-3407.

Published in The Boston Globe on Mar. 8, 2012
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