Cornelius John Nelson

Published 5:24 pm Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Cornelius John Nelson
Oct. 3, 1936 – Dec. 24, 2015 

Cornelius John Nelson died on December 24, 2015, at his home in Creedmoor, NC.

We called him CJ, Neely, Boss and Cowboy and loved him and will miss him dearly.

He was born October 3, 1936, in Hennessey, OK, the youngest of six children of Charlie and Edith Nelson. His father, born in 1885, participated in the Oklahoma Land Run of 1889.

CJ graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in Mathematics. After serving in the US Army, he completed a master’s degree in statistics at Southern Methodist University and worked toward a doctorate at the University of North Carolina.

CJ had a distinguished career as a bio-statistician, working at the National Center for Toxicological Research near Little Rock, AR, and later with the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, DC, and Research Triangle Park, NC.

After his formal retirement, he was active as a substitute teacher for Granville County Schools and a volunteer with his churches — his spirit and faith were too great for just one church.

Also in Little Rock, CJ met his wife Frances Jones, of Washington, and they were married on 8/1/81. They shared a generous and varied life together, camping, watching birds, identifying wild flowers, raising rescued dogs and gathering friends and family at home and across the country. They loved nature and the environment and supported those who tried to protect both.

CJ had a first-rate mind, an inquisitive spirit, a contemplative soul and a quirky sense of humor.

He laughed easily and appreciated a good pun. He always said the first two people he wanted to talk with in heaven were his father and Bertrand Russell.

In addition to his wife, CJ is survived by his five children: Lisa (Philip) Mansfield of Guildford, UK, Paige of Little Rock, AR, Trent (Mary) of Lewisburg, Ohio, Colin (Sharon) of Wellington, CO, and Kelly of Little Rock AR; five granddaughters: Caroline, Lindsay, Eve, Katie and Lucy; one great-grandson Hunter; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by grandson Thomas George Mansfield and great-granddaughter Georgia Mae Nelson.

A memorial service will be held January 9, 2016, at 2:00 pm at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Creedmoor, NC. Another service will be held in Oklahoma in the spring. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in CJ’s name to Pleasant Grove Baptist Church Building Fund, P.O. Box 745, Creedmoor, NC  27522 or Duke Home Care and Hospice, 4321 Medical Park Drive, Suite 101, Durham, NC 27704.