Jane Lewis Nelson, 90, of Givens Highland Farms in Black Mountain, passed away Sunday, May 7, 2017.
A native of Charleston, SC, Jane was born on February 24, 1927 to the late Samuel Bethea Lewis and Caroline Miller Lewis. The family lived on Gibbes Street, where Jane passed the days with her beloved "Nursey" (Estelle Fields), jumped rope with her best friend, Peggy Kelly, spent hours at the piano, and stood transfixed one November day in 1936 as the Presidential Motorcade drove by and she met the eye of a beaming Franklin D. Roosevelt, cigarette holder atilt and top hat on head.
An only child, Jane enjoyed a loving relationship with her many Charleston relatives, especially her maternal grandparents, Daniel and Margaret Miller, and her cousin, Waldo Pratt Miller, who was like a brother to her.
She attended Crafts Elementary School as well as Ashley Hall in Charleston. She went on to St. Mary's in Raleigh, then Converse College in Spartanburg, where she earned a B.S. in Biology. Inspired by her many fine teachers, most prominently Miss Marjorie Sallie of Ashley Hall, Jane herself became a superb teacher and served several public schools in the Charleston area, as well as Porter Military Academy (now Porter-Gaud School). Her subject expertise was in science and English. She was an especially gifted teacher of English grammar. Jane spent several summers pursuing graduate study at Appalachian State University and the University of South Carolina.
Written in Jane's fine cursive hand, on the inside cover of one of her graduate texts, are the words, "I'm going to marry Bill N." She had met William McDaniel Nelson during his student years at the Medical College of South Carolina, and the couple was soon devoted to each other. In August 1951, they began their married life, relocating in 1962 to Asheville, North Carolina, where Bill long served as Chief of Cardiology for the Asheville VA Medical Center. Love, faith, and family sustained them until Bill's death in April 1997.
Carrying on alone, Jane remained the loving, thinking heart of her family, ever present to all who now cherish her memory: her three children, Margaret Ann Nelson, Charlotte Lewis Nelson (Wilbur Paul Gulley) and William McDaniel Nelson, Jr. (Dora); five grandchildren, Melissa Garland Graham (Cliff), Paul Nelson Gulley, Caroline Louise Gulley, Paul Ziegler, and John Ziegler; three great-grandchildren, Zack Graham, Carson Graham, and Jessica Buckner (Brent); and one great great-grandson, Brayden Buckner.
Reared a Methodist, Jane embraced the Presbyterian Church after her marriage to Bill. A keen student of theology, she read widely, especially on the doctrine of predestination, which never fully convinced her but certainly inspired some of her finest conversation. For many years, Jane was a devoted member of the Warren Wilson Presbyterian Church, where she found a loving community of faith and regularly encountered the words that perhaps best characterize her long and wonderful life: "Love Above All."
A Memorial Service will be held at 2:30PM on Sunday, May 21 at Warren Wilson Presbyterian Church with a reception to follow at the church.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial donations be made to Warren Wilson Presbyterian Church, CPO 6355, PO Box 9000, Asheville, NC 28815.
Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian is assisting the family.