WEST PAWLET - Thomas S. Nelson II passed peacefully into the hands of the Lord Saturday, July 20, 2013, at Lake St. Catherine, after a courageous battle with cancer.
He was born November 10, 1926, the son of Camillus Horton and Helen Brown Nelson.
Tom was the valedictorian of his Granville (N.Y.) Central High School class, a graduate of Dartmouth University, and then graduated as an engineer from Dartmouth's Thayer School of Engineering. Tom proudly served as a pilot in the Naval Air Force and served as a Navy pilot during the end of World War II
After serving his country, he returned to the area and worked at the Telescope Folding Furniture Co. for around six to seven years. Then, in the 1950s, when his father became ill, he took over the management of the C.H. Nelson Agency, an independent insurance agency founded by his father in 1916 that served the business, farm and personal needs of customers in Vermont and New York states. Tom owned the insurance agency for over 50 years. Even at age 86, up to only days before he died, he was active in all aspects of the insurance agency related service operations for its customers.
Tom is survived by his wife of 59 years, Audrey Calkins Nelson; four children, Frank Nelson, Holly Nelson Lutz (John), Clare J. Nelson and George P. Nelson (Laura); six grandchildren, Meredith, Brittany, Aislinne and Elleanor Lutz and Megan and Liam Nelson; two nieces, Marleigh McNealus (Jerry) and Elizabeth Gillooly, and three nephews, David Pelton (Kiki), William Pelton (Dana) and James Calkins (Nancy). He was predeceased by his parents, C. H. "Micky" Nelson and Helen Brown Nelson, and by his sister, Martha Nelson Pelton.
Tom was a quiet leader. He served his community continuously, contributing as a member and holding offices in many organizations, including Rotary International
- Granville Club, the West Pawlet Volunteer Fire Department, the West Pawlet Fish and Game Club, and the Mountainview Cemetery Association. He served the Town of Pawlet as a justice of the peace, on the Board of Education, the Planning Commission, served on the Board of Civil Authority and for many years, Tom was the moderator of the Pawlet's annual town meeting.
While operating the C.H. Nelson Agency, Tom was active over the years in supporting and sponsoring area youth sports teams and organizations. He valued supporting various area nonprofits. Tom was particularly devoted to the Wells United Methodist Church. For over 55 years, Tom and Audrey developed, owned and operated Camp Catherine Capers, a horsemanship camp for girls enriching the lives of many horsemanship-interested children from all over the world. Tom, as an instrument rated pilot, flew small aircraft from Granville, N.Y., to nearly every state in the U.S.! His last solo flight was only months prior to his death.
Calling hours will be held Wednesday, July 24, at the Robert M. King Funeral Home, 23 Church Street, Granville, N.Y., from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m.
A time of sharing and a celebration of Tom's life will be held on Sunday, July 28, at the Wells United Methodist Church in Wells, Vt., at 2 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions to the Wells United Methodist Church, c/o Ken Littlewood, Financial Secretary, 119 Route 30, Wells, VT 05774; or the Rutland Area Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice (RAVNAH), 7 Albert Cree Drive, PO Box 787, Rutland, VT 05702 www.ravnah.org