Billie Jo Nelson

Published 1:28 pm Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Billie Jo Nelson passed away on October 4, 2023, in Bulverde, Texas.

She will be buried in Highland Memory Gardens, Lake Charles, Louisiana with a graveside service on November 18, at 11:00 AM conducted by her son-in-law, Reverend Michael L. Fraley.

Billie Jo was a native of Orange, Texas, having been born there to William A. and Myrtis Nelson on April 8, 1929. She grew up in Lake Charles, Louisiana, but moved back to Orange in 1984.

Bille Jo was predeceased by her husband of 63 years, Howard P. Nelson, whom she married at First United Methodist in Lake Charles in 1952.

They had three children: daughter Lisa Fraley (husband Reverend Mike Fraley) predeceased her parents, sons Mark Howard Nelson (wife Susan) and Erik Jon Nelson (wife Jennifer). Their grandchildren are James McKinley, Bill McKinley (wife Karen), Sam Fraley, Andrew Nelson, Madeleine Nelson, Jillian Nelson, Sylvia Nelson and Lawson Paul Nelson.

Billie Jo was also predeceased by her brother, Jack M. Nelson and sister-in-law Helen Nelson and nephew J.R. Nelson of Bastrop, Texas. Surviving her are her much loved nieces, Debbie Carson, Sharon Gassiott and Melissa Young.

Mrs. Nelson was a long-time teacher in the Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana School system, teaching mainly classroom and choir music at the elementary school level.

Billie Jo attended Lake Charles City System public schools: Second Ward, Central School and after graduation from Lake Charles High School in 1946, she attended McNeese Junior College on a Lions’ Club Opera Scholarship.

Continuing her education at Louisiana State University, she earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree in 1950.

From McNeese State University, she also earned a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education, a Master’s in Education, a “plus 30” (graduate hours after a Masters), and a Second Language Specialist in French.

In 1984, the family moved to Orange, Texas. Billie continued teaching music in Vinton, Texas until she retired in 1996.

The Nelsons became very involved in FUMC Orange. She sang in the choir, rang hand bells, served as President of the United Methodist Women’s’ Group, Circle Chairman of the Joy Group and served in the Altar Guild.

After 31 years in Orange, Howard died and Billie Jo moved briefly to Houston and then to San Antonio.

For her final years, she lived in Bulverde, Texas at the Heights of Bulverde nursing home. Her greatest joys were her family and her church, her friends, teaching many youngsters to “carry a tune,” singing great choral music, playing bridge and ballroom dancing.

She felt that her life had been very blessed, and she was thankful.