Nancy Gribble Nelson died Friday, February 3, in Pennington, N.J. She was 92.
Nancy is the spouse of the late C. Ellis Nelson who served as Louisville Seminary’s sixth president from 1974 to 1981. Until his death, June 9, 2011, the couple lived in Austin, Texas, where Dr. Nelson served on the faculty of Austin Theological Seminary. In a tribute to Dr. Nelson, published in Mosaic, President Jinkins said, “Ellis often said that the key to his success was Nancy Gribble Nelson. On that score he was not joking. They were a team. They took care of each other. They also took care of the church, several seminaries, their family, friends, and scores of students” (Spring/Summer 2011). Nancy was an elder at First Presbyterian Church in Austin, served on the mission committee, was active in women’s study groups, and tended a garden plot on the church grounds.
While at Louisville Seminary, she began the work of reaching out to all the Presbyterian women's groups in Louisville, inviting them to the campus for a tour and a luncheon in the president’s home. This work was so successful that it received a Lilly Endowment grant to set up a more formal structure, which eventually became the “Friends of Louisville Seminary.”
Nancy’s daughter wrote, “Her absolute faith and trust in God was reflected in her daily life. Nancy possessed an incredible strength of character, patience, honesty, and above all, loyalty to her husband and family. She was an avid gardener and enjoyed using native plants at their home in Austin; she was a bibliophile from early childhood and loved the written and spoken word; Nancy was gracious, always had a kind word to say, was a good listener, and never hesitated to offer assistance to anyone who might need it. She loved life and found joy in everything around her; she was an inspiration to all who knew her.”
Nancy is survived by her son, Ellis Stark Nelson (Veronica), of Cary, N.C., and her daughter, Karin Nelson McAnlis (John), of Pennington, N.J.; grandchildren Brian Nelson of Rolesville, N.C., Nancy McAnlis of Lakewood, Co., Ian McAnlis of Langhorne, Pa., and Carolyn McAnlis of Brisbane, Australia; and by her brother, Dr. Robert F. Gribble of Los Alamos, N.M. She was predeceased by her husband of 70 years, her sister, Elizabeth (Bippy) Cook, and her daughter, Joy Elizabeth Nelson.
A memorial service for Nancy Nelson will be held Monday, February 20, at 11 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church in Austin. Her ashes will be interred beside those of her husband in the Lela N. Rhodes Memorial Garden at Louisville Seminary at a later date selected by the family.