Lt. Col Mary E. Nelson of Boise, Idaho died June 6, 2016 in her home in the company of her sister Margaret and brother-in-law Ray Daniels. Mary was born August 12, 1931 in Batavia, NY. Her parents Therese and Richard Williams, and 3 brothers were living on the farm with maternal grandparents Margaret and John Price. After a year the family moved to Eldred, Pennsylvania, her father’s hometown. She attended Eldred High School for 12 years as did her siblings and father.
Mary’s father drilled oil wells and his dream was that all of his children would go to college. Her mother was a nurse and Mary followed in her footsteps. In 1952 she earned a three-year diploma in nursing from Strong Memorial Hospital at the University of Rochester New York.
After graduation she worked at the hospital for a year. In 1953 she joined the Air Force as a second lieutenant. Mary completed orientation in Mobile, Alabama and was stationed in Orlando, Florida. Her next move was to Fort Sam Houston where she studied neuropsychiatry. She continued as a psychiatric nurse at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio where she managed the Psychiatric Unit and was promoted to First Lieutenant. In addition, she participated in television shows to publicize Air Force Nursing.
Her next assignment was Flight Nursing School in Southeast United States followed by a tour of duty at Brookley Air Force Base in Mobile, Alabama. In 1958 she was sent overseas to Burderop, England where she met her husband Robert Nelson. They were married January16, 1960. Mary continued her military career moving to Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California where she was manager of the orthopedic and neurosurgery unit. Bob and Mary then moved to Fairbanks, Alaska. She managed the Nursing Services at the hospital and was promoted to Major.
The next assignment was Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio which brought one more promotion to Lieutenant Colonel. She worked in oral and general surgery. Mary and Bob then moved to Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho. She served as Chief Nurse at the hospital. Bob went to work as Director-Contractor Performance at Willis Shaw Express. Mary loved her military career, but decided to retire in 1973. She took a position in civilian nursing at the Central District Health Department. Mary retired in 1988 from her position as Director of Public Health Nursing.
She started Boise State in 1988 to obtain her college degree graduating in 1996 with a BS in Social Science. During this time her husband Bob was diagnosed with cancer and died in1991. Her siblings attended her graduation and all celebrated by going on trip to Seattle.
In addition to husband Bob, Mary is predeceased by her Mother, Father, brother Donald, and her beloved wheatons Bridget and K.C. Mary is survived by her brother Richard Williams Oakland Park, Florida, brother John Williams (Chris) Plantation,Florida,sister Margaret Daniels (Ray), North Olmsted, Ohio ,sister-in-law Jo Williams Oceanside, New York. Step son Robert Nelson (Rochelle) and children Kyle, Christina, Katherine, and Kevin of Boise. Several nieces, nephews, cousins, and their children, her special friend Susan Hill and family, and her beloved dogs Paddy Wheaton terrier and Daili Tibetan terrier.
Mary loved her family, her dogs, her home and flowers, classical music, reading, and travel especially to Williams Reunions, and annual sibling reunions in Florida each Feb. Mary was very active in the Center for Spiritual Living where she was a past president of the board. The family would like to thank her Center for Spiritual Living family for their love and support, the Sat. am breakfast group, neighbors, dog walkers, and caregivers Carolyn, Kim, and Zoe.
A memorial service will be held Mon. June 13 11:00 am at the Center for Spiritual Living, 10448 W Garverdale Court #603. A graveside service with military honors will be held 3pm Mon. June13 at Morris Hill Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Mary’s name to the Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation, http://www.womensmemorial.org/Donate/donate.html
1931 - 2016