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Janice Braly Nelsen

1931 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
Janice Braly Nelsen Obituary
November 30, 1931 - October 19, 2015 Janice Braly Nelsen passed away on October 19, 2015 in her beautiful home in Los Angeles after a brief illness. Her children called her "Pollyanna" because she could always find the positive aspect in every situation, place and person. Her optimism and curiosity were magnets for others, serving as the bedrock of friendships created over a lifetime spent in many different places and pursuits. She was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on November 30, 1931 to Walter and Josephine Flanley. Her father was an executive with International Telephone and Telegraph (ITT) before and after WWII, and managed the Boeing plant in Renton, Washington during WWII. As a result, Jan moved often in her early years living in Mexico City; New Rochelle, New York; Houston, Texas; Bellevue, Washington; Shanghai, China; and New York City. She attended 11 schools in 12 years making her the perennial "new girl" and helping to hone her gift for making friends and adapting to any situation. Jan's high school years in Shanghai from 1947 to 1948 attending the Shanghai American School were particularly important. There she made lifelong friends and gained an international perspective from the diverse student body. Although the alumni were scattered around the world due to the 1949 takeover of China by the Communists, they regularly gathered for reunions and Jan attended many of them. After graduating from high school in Bellevue, Jan attended Stephen's College in Missouri and then moved to New York where she graduated from Tobe-Coburn College for Fashion Careers with a degree in merchandising. She was hired by the upscale Roos Brothers Clothing Store in San Francisco. Prior to starting that position, Jan escorted her mother to Tokyo, Japan where her father had been posted by ITT. In an example of Jan's perfect timing, the evening she arrived she met Clarke Braly, a business associate of her father's and three months later they were married. She never made it to Roos Brothers. Instead, Jan and Clarke began a 38-year partnership of owning and operating successful businesses and raising a family. They settled in Newport Beach, California in 1953 where they operated a ServiSoft franchise and had three children. In 1961 the family moved to San Diego, California where they ran California Meter Service (a coin operated laundry business) and Rowe Automatic Vendors (a vending machine business). When not managing the businesses, or raising her children, Jan showed three-gaited American Saddlebred horses; served as president of the Mother's Club of Francis Parker School; and worked for numerous non-profit organizations, among them the San Diego Ballet School and Company where she served on the board of directors. After Clarke's death in 1990, Jan sold their businesses. Retirement gave Jan the freedom to once again be on the move. She began a series of trips that would ultimately take her to every continent. At home in San Diego, she took piano lessons, reviving a lifelong passion, and joined several charitable boards. And in another stroke of great timing, in 1994 while crossing Siberia on the Orient Express she met Los Angeles attorney Ned Nelsen. They fell in love at Lake Baikal and were married in Los Angeles in 1995. Jan joined Ned in his Tudor house in the Windsor Square area of Hancock Park, but their travels took them around the globe. They sipped champagne on an ice floe at the North Pole and walked with penguins in Antarctica. Following Ned's death in 2012, Jan made what she termed her "final move" to Belmont Village in Westwood. Once again, Jan's interest in and empathy for others yielded many friendships. She was universally liked, admired and respected by the staff and her fellow residents. Jan especially loved the Current Events programs and daily documentaries, and she served on the Resident's Council Board. Jan summed up her journey this way, "I've had two great marriages, three wonderful children, and an interesting life. There are no regrets." Jan is survived by her three children: Scott Braly and his wife Laurie; Hunt Braly and his wife Pamela; and her daughter and best friend Lee Braly. In addition she leaves her granddaughters Sarah Phillips and Morgan Lee Braly and a host of extended family and friends who were lucky to have had her in their lives. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Janice Braly Nelsen's name to either: TreePeople, 12601 Mulholland Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210 or www.treepeople.org/donate; or United Way of Greater Los Angeles, Attn: Major Gifts, 1150 S. Olive Street, Suite T500, Los Angeles, CA 90015 or www.unitedwayla.org and click on the red 'Donate Now' button.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Nov. 21 to Nov. 22, 2015
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