Obituary: Thomas Nelson, 1941-2019 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Thomas Nelson, 1941-2019

Published April 19, 2019 at 5:30 a.m.
Updated June 5, 2019 at 3:05 p.m.

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Thomas Nelson
  • Thomas Nelson

Thomas (Tom) Nelson, 77, of St. George passed away peacefully on April 5, 2019, at the University of Vermont Medical Center after suffering a brief illness.

Tom was born in Cape Girardeau, Mo., on August 5, 1941, to Thomas Nelson Jr. and Delpha Nelson. He spent his childhood growing up in Missouri and Kentucky before his family moved to the Chicago suburbs. Tom attended Kentucky Military Institute for his last year of high school. After military school, he joined the Air Force and served for four years, spending time in Korea following the war. After being discharged, he moved back to Illinois, where he owned and successfully operated a service center franchise. Eventually he made his way to Florida, where he spent many years living in Pompano Beach. It was there that he found his love for carpentry through working in the construction field. He also became an expert scuba diver, enjoyed deep sea fishing and played a lot of tennis while living in the Sunshine State.

One day the northern winds came calling, and he found himself living in Burlington, Vt. It was here he continued to work construction and started his own carpentry business. Although his company did new construction, renovation of older homes was always Tom’s passion. He thrived on always having something to do and continued to do small projects in the Burlington area until just months before his death. He loved being useful to others in any way that he could. Tom’s service to the community included being a Hospice volunteer for a number of years. When Burlington formed a sister city relationship with Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, Tom traveled to Puerto Cabezas with a Burlington Sister City Coalition of carpenters, and together they built a playground for the city.

During his time in Vermont, Tom always had a very special relationship with plants and gardening. He was happiest while working in his garden and tending his many houseplants. He also taught himself to sail on Lake Champlain and spent long hours sailing out on the water. His passion for fishing continued in Vermont, where he and his youngest son Daniel took joy in countless fishing trips. Tom and Dan also shared a love of baseball and basketball, both being devoted Red Sox and Celtics fans and rarely missing a game. Volunteering as an umpire and coach for the Williston teams Dan played on was a great source of enjoyment for him. Toward the end of his life, he was an avid reader; when he wasn’t working on a project, you could often find him at the Williston library checking out his weekly books.

Tom leaves behind four children: Joel Nelson of Lakewood, Ca.; Terri Berkheimer of Manassas, Va.; Scot Nelson of Deland, Fla.; and Daniel Nelson of St. George, Vt. He is also survived by his sister Barbara Deldin of Largo, Fla.; his brother Joseph Nelson of Coon Rapids, Minn.; his former wife and dear friend Mary-Ellen Giroux of Williston, Vt.; and four grandchildren, Mariah, Brandon, Luke and Morgan. Last but not least, Tom is survived by three beloved cats, Timi-Nu, Tucky and Walter.

During the last days of his life, Tom was full of many profound thoughts, one of which being, “I am ready to set my sails and sail off into a sea of bliss ... to see what I will find.” We’ll look forward to finding him out there someday. Respects can be paid at Tom’s home by scheduling at one's convenience. Contact Daniel at (802) 598-7741

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