After being given a long life, Eva Nelson, 102, passed away at 4:35 A.M. April 5, 2013, at Parkview Nursing and Rehab Center in Paducah.
She began work as a teenager at the Paducah Shoe Factory. In 1929, she married John Nelson, and they operated Nelson’s Grocery Store at the corner of Salem Avenue and North 13th into the World War II years. Their customers became friends, and they extended credit to many who experienced hard times. Later, Mrs. Nelson worked in food service for the Paducah schools, and the Paducah Country Club. Mrs. Nelson also managed two family-owned Paducah motels, Nelson’s Alben Barkley Memorial Motel, now the site of Dolly McNutt Housing on Bridge Street, and the Timber’s Motel on Hinkleville Road. That twenty-three acre property was eventually sold to the owners of Drury Hotels.
She gave twenty plus years to the river industry, working as a cook and retired from Mid-South Barge Company. She was much beloved by her “boys” on the river and they affectionately called her “Big Mama.”
Mrs. Nelson was preceded in death by her parents, J.R. Whittemore, who was a Melber area rural mail carrier, and her mother, Anna Evans Langston Whittemore, a one room school teacher. Her deceased brothers were Coulter, Buster, and Clem J. Whittemore, and one sister, Mamie Whittemore Austin. They were a family who loved each other, enjoyed music, and many friends in their Melber home.
Mrs. Nelson’s surviving Paducah family includes her daughter, Margaret (Maggie) Nelson Hamper, and Maggie’s special friend Joe Cunningham; one son, David Nelson, and wife, June; one grandson, Dr. Brent Nelson, and wife, Angie; two dearly beloved great grandchildren, Braxton and Aniston Nelson; and many nieces and nephews.
Memorial services will be held on Tuesday, April 9th, 2013, at 7:00 P.M. at the Milner & Orr Funeral Home of Paducah with Rev. Earl Dickerson officiating. Public visitation will be from 5:30 until 7:00 P.M.
Expressions of sympathy may take the form of contributions to Paducah-McCracken County Senior Center at 1400 H.C. Mathis Dr. Paducah, KY 42001 or to the Concord United Methodist Church Building Fund at 5178 Hinkleville Road, Paducah, KY 42001.
You may leave a message of sympathy or light a candle at www.milnerandorr.com.