Mary Evelyn Nelson October 19, 1929 - April 30, 2020 San Diego Mary Evelyn Nelson passed away on April 30th, 2020 in San Diego of congestive heart failure after battling the effects of a stroke in November. Mary was born in Nebraska to Carl and Alice Nelson. She spent the first 8 years of her life on the 240-acre family farm near Craig, Nebraska, with her parents and older siblings Marge, Jean and Ken.The family moved from the farm to Fremont, Nebraska, where Mary attended high school, graduating at age 16. She then attended the University of Nebraska in Omaha, graduating in 1950 with a degree in Dietetics. After a one-year internship in Chicago and jobs in California and Hawaii, Mary moved to San Diego to stay in 1953. She worked for San Diego Junior College and then co-owned and operated Ledbetter Candy Company in downtown San Diego. In 1959, Mary joined the staff of San Diego State College (which later became SDSU) as Associate Food Service Director. Here Mary thrived and was an indispensable member and leader of the staff for the next 31 years until her retirement in 1990. In 2002, Mary received the prestigious Mortar Board award for outstanding staff.Mary was a world traveler, visiting all 7 continents and 26 countries, an avid golfer, playing courses around the world, an usher at the Old Globe theater (for 33 years!), an RSVP volunteer and an active member of the SDSU Retirement Association. Her robust, full life gave rise to many fascinating stories with which Mary regaled family, friends and acquaintances, much to everyone's delight. Mary was a much-loved family member and a dear friend to many. Intelligent, creative, knowledgeable, skillful, productive, caring, loving, compassionate and loyal are some of the words that describe Mary. Passionate about her views, she was unafraid to share them with others. She served others and was very generous, not only with her time and resources but also her friendship. She was one of a kind. She was Aunt Mary.Mary leaves behind her nephew Norm Nelson, nieces Alice Oltmer Zimmerman, Lani Potts, Hollie Briggs, and Laurie Lamberth, many great-nephews/nieces and great-great-nephews/nieces along with many close friends. Due to the coronavirus, a memorial service will be postponed until a future date. Donations in Mary's honor may be made to the Salvation Army Kroc Center, the San Diego Food Bank or the SDSU Retirement Association Scholarship fund.
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Published in San Diego Union-Tribune on May 19, 2020.