Robert Joseph Nelson Sr., 81, of Fayetteville, passed away September 27, 2016 at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, surrounded by his loving family.
Bob was born in Bethel, the son of John W. Nelson and Alice Richardson Nelson. He was a graduate of Bethel High School, a stand-out athlete under Coach Walter Latham. He served as a medic in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, earning the National Defense Service Medal and Good Conduct Medal. He then attended East Carolina University, earning a bachelor of science degree with a double major in social studies and physical education.
After several years in the field of education, the remainder of his career was spent as a public health professional with the Cumberland County Health Department in Fayetteville, where he specialized in the treatment of infectious diseases.
Bob took great pride in the achievements of his children, Beverly Nelson of Yorktown, VA; Sheila Nelson of Farmville; Robert J. Nelson Jr. of Fayetteville; and William Nelson and wife Beth of Ahoskie. He was blessed with nine grandchildren, Robert J. Nelson III, Jessica Nelson, Brittany Nozolino, Bobbi Nozolino, Margaret Nelson, William Ryan Nelson, Christopher Nelson, Thomas Nelson and Ava Grace Nelson, in addition to two great grandchildren. He took an abiding interest in their lives and in the activities of his many nieces and nephews and their children.
Others surviving Bob include his sister, Margaret Raynor and husband Grady of Ayden; sister-in-law, Frances Nelson of Bethel; and longtime loving friend, Angela C. Nelson of Fayetteville.
In addition to his parents, others preceding Bob in death were his brothers, James A. Nelson Sr. and John W. Nelson Jr., and wife Lou; and great niece, Jennifer R. Evans, all of Bethel; and nephew, John W. Nelson III of Greenville.
Bob was known for his wry wit, keen mind and quiet compassion. When he entered a room, he lightened the mood, especially at the family hunting club and get-togethers. His jokes and tales are legendary and he will live on in their retelling. On a deeper level, he formed strong bonds with family and friends, always ready to help in subtle but meaningful ways. Even people who were not related by blood called him âUncle Bob.â
The family will receive friends on Saturday, October 8 at 10 am at St. Peter Catholic Church in Greenville, followed by a Mass of the Resurrection at 11 am. A Celebration of Life will be held on Sunday, October 30 from 1-3 pm at the Moose Lodge in Fayetteville, where Bob was a member.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial gifts in Bobâs name be made to the American Lung Association, National Direct Response Headquarters, 1200 Hosford St., Suite 101, Hudson, WI 54016-9316.
Online condolences may be sent to www.sullivanshighland.com.
Services are entrusted to Sullivan's Highland Funeral Service and Crematory, of Fayetteville, NC.