Harold Nelson Sr.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Beloved husband, father, grandfather, neighbor and friend Harold Eugene Nelson Sr. passed away at Saint Francis Medical Center on Dec. 13, 2011, after an extended illness.

Mr. Nelson was born Dec. 6, 1931, to the union of Issac and Hazel Nelson. In 1954 he married Claudia Elizabeth Purvis of Salters, S.C. They enjoyed 57 years of marriage. The union produced 10 children.

Mr. Nelson was a Korean War veteran, serving honorably as a military policeman in the U.S. Air Force.

Returning from the war, Mr. Nelson was among the first African-Americans to join the Illinois State Police. He dedicated more than 30 years of his life to the Illinois State Police, retiring in 1987 as a lieutenant/district commander. In 1992 he became the first black police chief in the city of Cairo, Ill. Mr. Nelson also served as the chairman of the village of Tamms, Ill.'s volunteer fire department. He was a member and a former deacon of Second Baptist Church.

Mr. Nelson was preceded in death by his daughter Marvene, who died shortly after her birth in 1955. He is survived by his loving wife, Claudia; and nine children, Marva Nelson of Champaign, Ill., Gloria Wilkins (Leon) of Belleville, Ill., Connie Houston (Lamar) of Tamms, Harold Nelson II of Litchfield, Ill., Glenda Nelson of Dallas, Hazel Stanley of Elizabethtown, Ky., Sandra Brown (Dan) of Glenarm, Ill., Cindy Nelson of Stockbridge, Ga., and Karen Warren (Tony) of Florissant, Mo. He is also survived by 18 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Visitation and funeral services will be held at Second Baptist Church in Tamms. Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, with funeral services to follow at 12:30 p.m.

Interment will be at 11:30 a.m. Monday at Mounds National Cemetery.

Funeral arrangements are being handled by Massie Funeral Home in Mounds, Ill.

In lieu of flowers, the Nelson family requests donations to the American Red Cross at www.redcross.org.