June 19, 2003

(3/18/1908 - 6/16/2003)

Edna Mae Nelson, 95, passed away June 16, 2003, at Scotland County Care Center, Memphis, MO.

She was born March 18, 1908, near Memphis, Scotland County, MO, the daughter of Fred E. and Edith Kerr Nelson.

In 1914 she moved with her parents to a farm they had purchased north of Arbela, MO, in the Fairview neighborhood.

Esta Mae received her elementary education at the Fairview Rural School and graduated from the Granger High School with the Class of 1925. She attended Culver-Stockton College at Canton, MO, where she received a teaching certificate. From 1926 until 1933 she taught in the rural schools of Scotland County, MO and Pulaski, IA.

In 1934, Esta Mae received a Civil Service appointment and went to work in Washington, DC, beginning as a stenographer. In 1936, she was offered a position with the Bureau of Plant Industry in the U.S. Department of Agriculture and continued in that division until her retirement in 1968. At the time of her retirement, she was the Head of the Agricultural Editing Division of USDA. Esta Mae credited the example of her parents and her Midwestern work ethic for her success.

After her retirement from USDA, Esta Mae returned to Scotland County where she built a new home in Memphis and became involved in many civic activities. She will be remembered for her gardening and landscaping talents, and for her generosity in sharing fruits, vegetables and flowers from her gardens with friends and neighbors. She was active in a number of civic organizations as long as her health permitted. She was a member of P.E.O., the Scotland County Historical Society; the Memphis First Christian Church, and the Community Players. She was especially interested in and supportive of the Scotland County Memorial Library, the Scotland County Hospital and Nursing Home, the Scotland County Ministerial Association, and the Mt. Moriah Cemetery Association.

In 1921, Esta Mae became a member of the Azen Christian Church. During her years in Washington, DC, she was a member of the National City Christian Church. After returning to Scotland County, she became a member of the Memphis First Christian Church. She was a long-time supporter of the Mt. Moriah United Methodist Church and Cemetery, north of Arbela, and was one of the organizers of the Mt. Moriah Cemetery Association.

Esta Mae was an avid reader, and continued to be interested in local, national, and world affairs throughout her lifetime. She placed a high value on family and friends. She maintained contact with many co-workers after her retirement.

She was preceded in death by her parents and two brothers, Raymond Nelson and Hubert (Shorty) Nelson and a nephew, James D. Nelson. Survivors include one sister, Mabel (Jane) Ellis of Southern Pines, NC; five nephews, William R. Nelson of Davenport, IA, Stephen S. Ellis, Jr. of Hamilton, MT, John D. Ellis of Pinehurst, NC, William M. Ellis of Rock Springs, WY, James D. Ellis of Lawrence, KS; two nieces, Ann Nelson Barker of Granger, MO, and Nancy E. Nelson of Ft. Madison, IA, as well as several great-nieces and nephews and other relatives.

The family has suggested memorials to Mt. Moriah Cemetery, Scotland County Memorial Library, or Scotland County Care Center, and may be left at or mailed to the Payne Funeral Chapel, 202 E. Madison, Memphis, MO 63555.

Graveside services for interment of cremains will be held Saturday, June 21, 2003, at 1:30 p.m. at the Mt. Moriah Cemtery, north of Arbela, MO, with the Rev. Charles Hammack officiating. Arrangements are being handled by the Payne Funeral Chapel, Memphis, MO.

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