Obituary: Merrell Nelson July 7, 1945 – July 18, 2021

MERRELL NELSON July 7, 1945 – July 18, 2021

Merrell Nelson passed away on July 18, 2021 at the age of 76, while surrounded by her loving family.

Merrell and her twin sister Marion Kolsby were born in Columbus, Georgia, on July 7, 1945 to Otis Dewitt and Sarah Charlotte Smith. Merrell met her husband, Ronald Nelson, while studying mathematics at Florida State University; their friends, in keeping with university tradition, tossed them in the Westcott Fountain for luck. The couple enjoyed the next 54 years together.

Merrell gave of her heart and home without reserve, helping to raise Marion’s two youngest daughters and her granddaughter Carolynn, and she had an indelible influence on family, friends and fellow congregants. Whether teaching you to crochet or the fastest way to peel a potato to feed a crowd, Merrell was willing to share her skills or the honest opinion of her critical and artistic eye.

Merrell loved to cook — she had a stash of five cookbooks from her favorite restaurant, Rancho de Chimayo — and had a particular fondness for margaritas with salted rims. It was important to her that everyone who entered her home felt welcome and loved, and Merrell used her attention to detail to ensure that a family member or guest’s favorite food or drink would be available.

After she was diagnosed with ALS, Merrell kept her sense of humor, naming the equipment that helped her to continue enjoying the things that mattered most to her: The ventilator next to her bed was Victoria — “she was stuffy and didn’t go out much” — while the one on her wheelchair was Vicky — “because she’s hip.”

Merrell is survived by her husband; daughters Laura and Natalya; sister Marion; five grandchildren and a great-grandson. 

A memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Monday, September 6, 2021, at the White Rock United Methodist Church in White Rock, NM. In lieu of flowers, please donate in Merrell’s name to the ALS Association.

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