William E. Nelson, 60, of Durham, beloved husband of nearly 39 years to Jacquelyn (Healy) Nelson, passed in his home of complications arising from a courageous battle with cancer on Tuesday, July 17. He was born in Middletown on Feb. 12, 1952; the eldest child of William R. Nelson and Barbara (Swallow) Nelson.
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Besides his wife, Jackie, Bill is survived by his son, Joshua Nelson and his wife, Mindy, of East Hampton, his daughter, Sara Hartley and her husband, Brian, of Durham, three brothers, Peter Nelson of FL, Thomas Nelson of NC, and Steven Nelson of FL, a sister, Deborah Fritze of FL, two sisters-in-law, Linda Healy of Middletown and Angela Gulielmetti of Durham, the center of his universe, his grandchildren, Noah William Nelson, William Isaac Nelson, Ella Rose Hartley, Tess Grey Hartley, and predeceased granddaughter Madelyn Grace Hartley as well as countless friends, none closer than Jacob Peter Schilling III of Rockfall and Howard Randlett of Middlefield.
After living the first nine years of his life in Portland, CT, Bill and his family moved to Durham in 1961. It was here where, at the age of 16, he met the love of his life, Jackie. After graduating from Durham High School in 1970, he worked as a production manager at Heublein in Hartford, while studying design at the Porter and Chester Institute. Together, he and Jackie began cultivating the family he so passionately loved. After 22 years at Heublein, he left and established a lawn care service where many of his customers also became dear friends. A cuddly curmudgeon, he was known to family and friends as a knowledgeable, kind-hearted, good-natured, humble man who was always ready to lend both his expertise and a strong helping hand to anyone he could benefit. A perfect role model, Bill possessed a stark sense of fairness and an unparalleled respect for nature and all its wonders. He was a gentleman in the truest sense of the word: his twinkling-eyed smile, quick wit, selfless kindness and indefatigable spirit will be missed by all who had the privilege to have known him.
A memorial service was held July 22 at the United Churches of Durham. A private burial will be held in Mica Hill Cemetery, Durham.
Memorial contributions may be made to: The Yawkey Family Inn, Boston, MA.
Published in Town Times on July 28, 2012