NELSON, JOANNA HEFFINGTON (1948 ~ 2020). The following is an obituary for Joanna Nelson, spouse of James Nelson, former member of the State Board of Insurance. The obituary was provided by Weed, Corley, Fish Funeral Home of Austin.
Joanna J. Heffington Nelson
Joanna J. Heffington Nelson of Austin passed away May 24, 2020; born August 13, 1948 in Houston, Texas to James M. and Agnes B. Heffington. She was a graduate of Bellaire High School in Houston and earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Baylor University in 1970.
Joanna is survived by her loving husband of forty years, Jim Nelson; her sister, Nelwyn Pearl Foley; three children, James W. Nelson and his wife Jenny, Julia N. Drude and her husband Ben, and Caroline Nelson; six grandchildren, Lawson Nelson, Campbell Nelson, and Vada Nelson, Virginia Drude, Hazel Drude, and Henry Drude, and three nieces and nephews, whom she loved dearly. She is also survived by many cousins of the Boone, Heffington, and McClanahan families.
She was predeceased by her parents and two sisters, Lanette Jane Dye and Claudette Heffington.
Immediately after her graduation from Baylor, she taught middle school in Brooklyn for two years and organized the very first musical (of several following) in that school and received highest accolades from the school and from the New York City school district. Following this, she was the head assistant to the Chief Curator of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. She then returned to Texas, where she worked as a court transcriber in the days before there was computer access in this field. She moved to Austin and continued this job transcribing for three District Courts in Travis County. This was followed by working as a successful real estate agent, where she completed negotiations on her last contract from the Labor Room just hours before the birth of her third child.
This was followed by her lovingly serving as the Music Director at Highland Park Baptist Preschool for almost twenty years. Her time there resulted in the development of the love and understanding of music by young children, many of whom have kept contact with her throughout the years. She also served as President of the Texas State Officials Ladies Club. For over twenty years, she was a member of Hyde Park Baptist Church, where as the Ninth Grade Sunday School Director, she shaped the lives of countless high school students. At the time of her death, she was a member of First Church Austin.
There was never a kinder or more encouraging spirit to all those around her, and lived the words of the prophet Micah set out in Micah 6:8.
For those wishing to make a memorial contribution, please do so in memory of Joanna H. Nelson to the Friend of Music Endowed Scholarship Fund, Baylor University, One Bear Place #97050, Waco, Texas 76798-7050, or to a charity of your choice.
Dr. Bill Blackburn will officiate a small private service at Weed-Corley-Fish at 3125 North Lamar at 11:00 am on Friday, May 29th. During this time of the pandemic, attendance is quite limited; however, the service will be live streamed on Facebook via the funeral home website at Weed Corley Fish Funeral Homes. A private burial will follow at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin.
Remembrances may be shared at www.wcfish.com.
Published in Houston Chronicle on May 28, 2020.