1937 - 2014
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(1937 - 2014) William C. Nelson, 77, of Mission Hills, Kansas, passed away on the evening of August 7, 2014. He was a loving father and husband and will be deeply missed. Bill's great passions in life were his family, friends, and involvement in the Kansas City business and civic community. His fifty-year career in banking and asset management provided him the opportunity to build business relationships around the region and the world. More importantly, his business stature afforded him a platform to make a difference in the many community causes that he held most dear. Bill was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of Curtis Clinton Nelson, an FBI agent, and Mary Sloan Nelson, a homemaker and schoolteacher. Bill's father passed away when he was twelve years old, and he spent much of his childhood caring for his younger siblings James and Penelope. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history at Yale University, funding his education entirely through scholarships and employment. He also attended the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Business. Bill's career in Kansas City was defined by his tenure as President of Boatmen's First National Bank of Kansas City - later NationsBank and Bank of America. Bill came to Kansas City in 1988, and he lead the bank for twelve years. Though an accomplished banker and advisor, Bill's greatest joy in business came from working together with his colleagues, building consensus, and mentoring younger associates. After retiring from banking in 2000, Bill spent several rewarding years as chairman of George K. Baum Asset Management, providing senior advice and relationships to the firm's clients and the team. Prior to joining Boatmen's, he served as Executive Director at First Republic Bank Corporation in Dallas, Texas. Previous experience at Mellon Bank included several years in London, where he was Vice President and General Manager of Mellon's European Operations. It was also during his time in London that Bill met the love of his life, his wife Barbara, who was then working as a journalist at Business Week. Bill was an active member of the Kansas City business community, serving as a director of DST Systems, Inc., Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Kansas City; Great Plains Energy, Inc., Midwest Research Institute and the Auto Club of Missouri. He also served as Chairman of the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City and the Kansas City Area Development Council and Vice Chairman of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. He also chaired the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation from 1998 - 2001. Bill received several honors during his career. Some of the most meaningful include: Ingram's 1993 Local Hero Award; Jewish Community Relations Bureau1993 Human Relations Award; Urban League of Greater Kansas City 1994 Difference Maker Award; Minority Supplier Council 1995 CEO of the Year Award; Kansas City Globe's 1995 Bridgebuilder Award; Heart -of America Council, Boy Scouts of America 1995 Distinguished Citizen Award; the Chamber of Commerce Centurions 1997 Leadership Award; Honorary Police Commissioner, Kansas City, Mo.; and the W.F. Yates Medallion for Distinguished Civic Service from William Jewell College. One of his great passions was early childhood education. To advance that cause, Bill co-chaired the Partnership for Children, served as both Chairman of the Early Learning Leadership Board of the Mid- America Regional Council and the Kansas Governor's Education Policy Committee. Kansas Governor Sebelius appointed him to the Kansas Children's Cabinet and Trust Fund. Bill also had a passion for the arts, and worked tirelessly to advance the cause of local arts institutions. He served as the honorary Chairman of the State Ballet of Missouri, Advisory Director of the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey, and was a former Chairman of the Business Partners/Kansas City Symphony. He had a special love for the Kansas City Repertory Theater, and served as its board Chairman for many years. Helping the Rep grow into a nationally recognized company was one of his greatest joys, and he was instrumental in establishing the Rep's Copaken Stage in downtown Kansas City. A consummate sports aficionado, Bill was an avid horseback rider and devoted Kansas City Chiefs fan who loved watching games with his sons. He served proudly as Chairman of the Committee of 101, a civic organization affiliated with the Chiefs that raises money for local organizations. In addition, he never let his sons forget that he was the fastest boy in the eighth grade. Bill's greatest love in life was his family and beloved wife, Barbara. They spent forty-two wonderful years together, supporting each other in every endeavor. He is survived by Barbara, his sons Christopher (Amy), Graham, and David (Angela); grandsons Oliver, Samuel and Andrew; sister Penelope and numerous extended family and friends throughout the country and abroad. He will be sorely missed by them all. To celebrate Bill's life, visitations are planned at DW Newcomer's Sons Stine & McClure Chapel in Kansas City, Missouri on Monday, August 11th from 5:00 - 7:00pm and on Tuesday, August 12th from 4:00 - 7:00pm. A memorial service is planned for Wednesday, August 13th at 3:30pm at the Village Presbyterian Church in Prairie Village, Kansas. A reception will follow at The Kansas City Country Club. In lieu of flowers, please send any donations to either the William C. Nelson Fund at Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church (2411 East 27th St. KCMO, 64127) in support of Bill's work to build a youth and family center in urban Kansas City or the Kansas City Repertory Theater. D

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Published in Kansas City Star on Aug. 10, 2014.
05:00 - 07:00 PM
04:00 - 07:00 PM
Memorial service
03:30 PM
Village Presbyterian Church
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16 entries
April 18, 2015
My Salute to Bill from Brent of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Dear Family of Williams C. Nelson, My Greatest Condolences to all of you, I remembered him well. I was a former Associate of the Boatmen's First National Bank of Kansas City while Bill and his age of 57 was President and CEO and I was age of 28. I left the Bank on December 1995 before did not know about Bill passed away in 2014 after his final age of 77.

I remembered that we met in the Folly's Theater for our Bank Quarterly Conference while the American Sign Language Interpreter was with us on first time. I employed for 2 years from February 1993.

Last time I saw Bill exit his historical office. He gestures his hand to salute over me. I never forget his final action well.
Brent Hisel
January 7, 2015
I worked for Bill in London 40 years ago when he was Vice President of Mellon Bank. Every year without fail we have exchanged Christmas cards and exchanged photographs of our growing families. I havnt seen Bill since then but looked forward to catching up, if only briefly, once a year. I hadn't heard from him this year and knew in my heart that something was not as it should be. He was a beautiful person and although I havnt seen Bill or Barbara for 40 years I am missing him so much. My love and thoughts to Barbara and family of course. We are all suddenly in a different world. Chris Bailey
August 15, 2014
My sister, Jan Wagner, told me that Bill had passed away. I extend to you and your family my deepest sympathy. I loved seeing you and Bill several years ago at Rolling Rock...and I was quite surprised to run into you two.

Charlotte Wagner Beukema
August 12, 2014
Barbara - our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this difficult time. From Bill's many friends and admirers at the Truman Library Institute.
Alex Burden
August 12, 2014
Barbara - Dianne and I are so sorry to learn of the passing of Bill send our deepest condolences to you and the boys. He was one of the most outstanding men of our time and will be so missed by so many.

Jim Deckert
August 12, 2014
Dear Barbara & Family,
We were deeply saddened to learn of Bill's passing, in the KC Star.
All of us in the Kansas City region benefited because of Bill's passion and involvement in our community.
We also enjoyed the personal relationship we had with both of you over the years.
Harry & Clara Cleberg
August 12, 2014
Dear Barbara,

My heartfelt condolences go out to you and your family. I have known and worked with Bill for the past twenty years. Bill was a GIANT in advocating for children, especially for high quality early learning for all young children. He taught me how to stay focused and how to continually strive to make a difference. Our community is less well off now that Bill is no longer with us. My God bless and support you during this very difficult time.
With much gratitude,
Jim Caccamo
Jim Caccamo
August 11, 2014
Bill....you will be missed, but know that Kansas City is a much better place thanks to you! Barb, my sympathy to you and your family!
Larry Kucinick
August 11, 2014

The parishioners of Holy Family Church, Kansas City, Kansas send their heartfelt condolences to you and your family.

"Eternal rest grant onto him O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen."
Holy Family Church
August 11, 2014
Dear Barbie and family,
Art and I would like to express our deepest sympathy to you and your family. My prayer is for peace and comfort to all. Bill will be deeply missed.
Debbie and Art Morrell
August 11, 2014
Dear Barbie and Family,
You all have been on my mind since Bernie shared the news of Bill's passing.
This world is going to have a significant void with out Bill. He definitely was a starter, an accomplisher and a finisher. Thank goodness you all have such good memories of times shared.
You have my heartfelt sympathies
Dena Chottiner
August 11, 2014
I cherish the honor of having worked with Bill at Boatmens for his entire tenure, and kept a relationship during the George K. Baum years. A finer, more dedicated man and inspirational leader I have never known, and my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. The entire Kansas City community shares in your loss.

Ed Schober
August 10, 2014
To Barbara and family; I would like to extend my sincere condolences. I served on the Board of MorningStar's Development Company with Bill for many years and always admired and respected his integrity, grace and dignity, and also his commitment to the community and Kansas City's urban core. The community has lost a giant who was head and shoulders above the rest. This community was truly blessed by Bill's presence and he touched so many lives with his kind and genuine human spirit. Thank you and your family so much for sharing him with us.
Shirley Phenix
August 10, 2014
Remembering our happy, shared times together.Always in our hearts, Felicia and Ron Sexton and family.
August 10, 2014
Dear Barbara, all of us at Kansas City Repertory Theatre are shocked and deeply saddened by this news, and send you our deepest condolences. Like so many people in Kansas City, I wouldn't be here if it weren't for Bill, and even more so, our theater community wouldn't have its cultural renaissance without his bold, passionate leadership. He was a mentor, friend, advocate, and he taught me how to be a better leader. I wish you and your sons and family my deepest condolences, and look forward to finding meaningful ways to pay tribute to your husband's extraordinary legacy.
Eric Rosen
August 10, 2014
Barbara, Christopher, Graham & David our sincere sympathy to all of you. Your in our thoughts and prayers. Ron, Helen, Shane & Kristen Peters
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