Cover photo for Jean Mackey Nelson's Obituary
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Jean

Jean Mackey Nelson

d. June 6, 2020

Jean Mackey Nelson 1926-2020 Jean Mackey Nelson died June 6, 2020 at the age of 94 in Ambler, Pennsylvania. Jean was born January 26, 1926, along with her twin sister, Joan, in Omaha, Nebraska to Wilbur C. Mackey and Elma Softley Mackey. The twins grew up on a farm in Eustis, Nebraska until the untimely death of their mother when they were 7 years old. Their paternal grandmother, Viola, took over their care until Wilbur married Genevieve Woodman in 1936. Much to the delight of Jean and Joan, a sister, Alice, arrived when they were teenagers. Jean cherished the love and friendship of her sisters throughout her life. While in nursing school, Jean met Bernard Nelson, a dashing Marine pilot, whom she married in January 1948. They welcomed their first daughter, Kathleen in June 1949, followed by Ruth, January 1951, Gregory, July 1952, Brian, May 1958, Lauri, April 1960, and Jeanette, November 1961. In April 1948, Jean graduated from the Mary Lanning Memorial Hospital School of Nursing as a Registered Nurse. When her children were older, she returned to school and earned a degree as a Nurse Practitioner from the University of Pittsburgh in 1972--one of the earliest recipients of such a degree. She added a Master of Science degree in 1976 from the University of Colorado Denver. Jean put her education to good use in her work with the Tri-County Health Department running Well Baby Clinics for more than 20 years. Like her mother, Jean was known as an artistic, talented woman who could “do anything.” In addition to her talent as an artist, primarily water colors, which was recognized throughout her life, she excelled at sewing and baking. She was a long-time member of the Wellshire Presbyterian Church, where Jean particularly treasured singing in the choir. Her love of choir carried over to the Brookdale Meridian choir, which she joined when she moved there in 2005. She enjoyed travel, whether with her sister Alice in China, on a safari in Kenya, and sailing through the Panama Canal, or with the Wellshire choir on tour in Germany. Jean once characterized her family as “steady, productive members of society who valued family, education, high morals, and hard work to achieve their goals in life.” Jean embodied all these qualities, too, but what distinguished her the most was her love and care of her family and many, many friends. Bernard preceded Jean in death in 1997. In addition to her children, Jean is survived by her three grandsons, Andrew Kromer, Patrick Nelson, and Chance Nelson, her great-grandson Zayne Nelson, her sister, Alice Jaswal, and her many nieces and nephews. A private family memorial service will be held in Bristow, Nebraska.
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