Grandma Lee Nelson, 98, a lifelong resident of Smith Point, Texas, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, March 21, 2018, in Liberty, Texas, surrounded by her loving family. She was born on September 24, 1919, in a houseboat on the Neches River in Beaumont, Texas to Joe and Josephine Payton Revia. The family moved to High Island when Grandma was just 3 years old.
At the age of 16, Grandma married Cornelius “Neal” Nelson together relocated from High Island to Smith Point. She would travel back and forth to High Island from Smith Point by horseback to see family and friends.
Grandma was the life of the party, someone everyone enjoyed talking to, always wanted advice from and was the best person to tell your secrets to. She always greeted everyone with a smile, an affectionate hug, and a sweet kiss. Grandma never met a stranger, everyone knew who she was, and everyone always knew they could rely on her for any reason. She loved life and lived every minute of it to the fullest. Grandma may have gotten weak near her end, but she never lost the quiet strength she always had. Hers was the voice that never failed to give the comfort that was needed as well as the best advice.
The matriarch of her family, a pillar of her community, a woman of strength, principle and courage, who helped establish Nelson’s Oysters of Smith Point in the 60’s, was a founder of the Smith Point Fire Department and EMS, an honorary member of the Daughter’s Confederacy, was awarded Citizen of the Year, a founder and lifelong member of the Smith Point Baptist Church, song leader and Sunday school teacher among other duties and responsibilities within Chambers County. Grandma would always tell people that she worked as a truck driver and was responsible for hauling seafood wherever it needed to go. She also worked for many years as a funeral ambassador for Sterling Funeral Home in Anahuac, where she would stay overnight to keep watch over a family’s loved ones. She also made sure to attend every funeral she could and if there were more than one funeral in a day, she made sure to change clothes in between being careful not to be seen in the same outfit.
Grandma was a woman of gentle smiles, who was outgoing and fun-loving and always welcomed the company of family and friends. She was loving, giving and caring and what she loved and enjoyed most was spending time with her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren. She was affectionately called “Antique” by her great-grandson. Grandma loved to travel with her family and enjoyed going on cruises. She’s had her feet in both oceans and loved the mountains. Grandma also loved the sweet words and melody of Amazing Grace, would sing it whenever she could.
Grandma was preceded in death by her parents; her loving husband of 45 years, Neal Nelson; her sons Ben Nelson and Joe Nelson; her grandchildren Ben H. Nelson, Bo Nelson and Runt “Uncle Crab” Nelson; her great-grandchildren Cody Nelson and Jessica Hellyer; her siblings Bill, Edgar, George, Charlie, Claude, Mary, Edna and Addie; her daughter-in-law Emily Nelson; and her beloved fur-baby Snooks who died 2 days later. She leaves behind to cherish her memory, her children Necil Kelley and husband Alton and Eddie Nelson; her daughters-in-law Jeri Nelson and Doris Nelson; her grandchildren Vicki Jo and Vanessa Nelson, Terri Woody and husband Woody, Rhonda Kelley, Glenda “Boo” Hellyer and husband Rod, Aaron Kelley and wife Mei, Candy, Jim and Eddie Lotz; her 28 great-grandchildren and 34 great-great-grandchildren; her lifelong companion and dear friend Evelyn Standley; and a host of other loving relatives and friends.
Honoring the family by serving as pallbearers will be Nic Nelson, Jeff Hellyer, Terry Champeaux, Eddie Lotz, David Hatfield and Skylar Johnson. Honorary pallbearers will be Rhonda Kelley and Chuck Gau.
Friends are invited to visit with the family from 5pm until 8 pm on Thursday, March 29, 2018, in the chapel of Sterling Funeral Home, 1201 S. Main Street, Anahuac, Texas. Funeral services will be held at 1pm on Friday, March 30, 2018, at the First Baptist Church of Anahuac, 405 Magnolia Avenue South in Anahuac. A graveside service and committal will immediately follow in Jackson Cemetery in Double Bayou. The family will receive friends for a reception following the graveside service at the White's Park.
Grandma’s favorite color was red. In her honor, please wear something red and bring one rose.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made in Grandma’s honor to the Smith Point Baptist Church or to the "Ben Nelson Memorial Scholarship” at Anahuac ISD. Please mail donations to Anahuac ISD P.O. Box 638 Anahuac, TX 77514 Attn: Sheri
“They say that life is not about the number of breaths you take, but of the moments that take your breath away.”