Funeral for Robert Locke Nelson (November 11, 1942 – March 11, 2021)

The Rite of Christian Burial for Robert Locke Nelson was offered on May 21, 2021.  

Live Stream of the Burial Liturgy

Eulogy & Homily from the Service

Robert Locke Nelson (November 11, 1942 – March 11, 2021)

Born in Evanston, Illinois in 1942, Robert Locke Brown was the first of the two children born to William Robert Brown and Elizabeth (Martin) Brown. His younger brother, Richard (“Rick”) arrived two years later.

​When Bob Brown’s parents divorced and his mother remarried, her two boys were adopted by her second husband, Edgar Nelson. They lived in the Chicago area until Bob was twelve, and the Nelson family moved to Bedford Village in New York’s Westchester County. Bob loved animals and, as a boy, he had a job at a dog kennel that raised Corgis.

​As a teenager, Bob got his first glimpse of Barbara Reynolds, who lived nearby in Mt. Kisco. When a mutual friend urged Bob to ask Barbara out on a double date, he resisted. He thought she was too “bookish.” But by the time he left high school to join the Marine Corps, they had become close. When Barbara went to college, they continued writing to each other during his service. In the USMC he became a lance corporal and, later, was an active member of the VFW.

After he left the Marines, Bob and Barbara picked up where they had left off. They were married in Mt. Kisco in 1966, and settled in Jamaica, Queens. That same year, Bob began working for United Airlines. He worked at JFK and LaGuardia airports as everything from a passenger agent to a Sky Cap. During those years, Bob and Barbara traveled to Scandinavia, Rome and Athens.

​In 1978, the Nelsons welcomed a son, Christopher. Bob adored and grew to admire Chris, and must have saved every card and letter his son ever gave him. If Chris scribbled his signature on something, Bob cut it out and saved it. He also wrote odes to his boy, tucking them away in this desk.

​They moved to Pelham Manor in 1980, and Bob retired from United in 1998. In retirement, he appeared as an extra or a driver in several Hollywood movies shot in New York, including “Catch Me If You Can.” Bob was also a volunteer firefighter for five years with the Pelham Manor FD.

​​Bob was MAD about cars and rarely met a motor he didn’t love. He collected dozens of real and model cars over the years, and until recently could be seen rumbling around Pelham in his WW II Jeep, his Mercedes Kompressor sports car or his aging Chevy Caprice. And then there was his orange VW Thing. Most striking was the sight of Bob zipping by on his Italian Vespa scooter.

​His childhood love of Corgis never left him. The Nelsons had a succession of them over the years. And despite his extreme allergy to cats, he supported Barbara in her volunteer work of fostering rescue cats for the New Rochelle animal shelter.

Like everybody, Bob Nelson was multi-faceted. Social and outgoing, he enjoyed making people laugh and was a somewhat compulsive practical joker. He will also be remembered as a man of integrity, and someone who was kind and generous to his many friends.

​Bob is survived by Barbara, his wife of 54 years, and his son, Christopher of Grand Junction, Colorado. He also leaves a half-sister, Terry Brown Woods, of Reno, Nevada; and a half-sister, Elizabeth Suzan Nelson Heithaus, of Jupiter, Florida. He was pre-deceased by his brother, Rick. Bob will rest in a family plot in Arlington, Vermont.

Today’s Lections from Holy Scripture

 Old Testament Reading Read by Victor Borsella
[The Lord is good to those who wait for him]
Lamentations 3:22-26, 31-33
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. For the Lord will not cast off for ever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the sons of men.

Psalm 42:1-7 Read by Debra Reynolds

1. As the deer longs for the water-brooks, *
so longs my soul for you, O God.

2. My soul is athirst for God,
athirst for the living God; *
when shall I come to appear
before the presence of God?

3. My tears have been my food day and night, *
while all the day long they say to me,
“Where now is your God?”

4. I pour out my soul when I think on these things; *
how I went with the multitude and led them into the
house of God.

5. With the voice of praise and thanksgiving, *
among those who keep holy-day.

6. Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul? *
and why are you so disquieted within me?

7. Put your trust in God; *
for I will yet give thanks to him,
who is the help of my countenance, and my God.

Epistle Read by Linda Gerra
[Things that are unseen are eternal]
2 Corinthians 4:16-5:9

We do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed every day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, because we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Here indeed we groan, and long to put on our heavenly dwelling, so that by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we sigh with anxiety; not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always of good courage; we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. We are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.

[All that the Father gives me will come to me]
John 6:37-40
Jesus said to the people, “All that the Father gives me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me; and this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up at the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Today’s Music
The following pre-recorded musical selections will be offered by our full choir:

Hymn: “Morning Has Broken”
Words: Eleanor Farjeon (1881-1965), alt.
BUNESSAN, 1831; Gaelic melody; harm. Alec Wyton (1921-2007)
Text copyright © the Estate of Eleanor Farjeon.
Harmonization copyright © 1982 by Church Publishing Inc. All rights reserved.
Licensed under A-713125.
Performed by Tonna Miller Vallés, Jann Degnan, Jeffrey Hoffman, and Simon Cram, professional choristers;
with members of the parish choir Jeff Bodenmann, Linda Gerra, Mboti (Missy) Kisob, and Margaret Young;
Jeffrey Hoffman, organist & director of music.
Recording, photography, and video production by Jeffrey Hoffman with assistance from Jabea Kisob.
This presentation copyright © 2021 by the Parish of Christ the Redeemer (Christ Church), Pelham, New York.
All rights reserved.

Hymn: “I am the Bread of Life”
Words: Suzanne Toolan, RSM (b. 1927); adapted from John 6.
I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE, Suzanne Toolan, RSM (b. 1927); choral arrangement by Betty Pulkingham (1928-2019).
Text and music © 1966 by GIA Publications, Inc.
Licensed under A-713125.
Organ improvisation and virtual harp and carillon arrangement by Jeffrey Hoffman. Copyright © 2021. Used with permission.
Sung by sopranos Lynelle Jonsson & Laurelyn Watson Chase, mezzo-soprano Jann Degnan, tenors Jeffrey Hoffman & Douglas Purcell, and bass-baritone Simon Cram;
with members of the Christ Church parish choir Jeff Bodenmann, Linda Gerra, Barbara Nelson,
and Margaret Young; with special thanks to virtual congregation participants Noah Agerberg, Simon Agerberg, Chisara Alimole, Ozichi Alimole, Claire Allen,
Angela Barone, Allison Bodenmann, Sandy Dunn, Jean Gruener, Diane Hayduk, Carol Ipsen, James Kenworthy, Marie Main, Arianna Mable,
Madison Mable, Liam Mead, Matthew Hoxsie Mead, Nicolas Mead, Walter Roberts, Tom Salvatore, Sarabeth Weeks, and Bruce Weis.
Recorded at Christ Church in Pelham, New York, March 2021, in compliance with state and diocesan COVID-190 guidelines.
Jeffrey Hoffman, organist & director of music, recordist and producer.
This presentation copyright © 2021 by the Parish of Christ the Redeemer (Christ Church), Pelham, New York.
All rights reserved.

Hymn: “Amazing Grace”
Words: John Newton (1725-1807), alt.; last verse, John Rees (19th cent.)
Music: NEW BRITAIN, from Virginia Harmony, 1831; adapt. att. Edwin Othello Excell (1851-1921); Public Domain.
First, fourth and fifth verses harmonized and arranged by Jeffrey Hoffman (b. 1970), copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Second and third verse harmonization by Eric Routley (1917-1982). Copyright © 1985 Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. All rights reserved. Used by permission from the publisher.
This presentation copyright © 2020 by the Parish of Christ the Redeemer (Christ Church), Pelham, New York. All rights reserved.

Before the service begins, the organist will play the following selections in prelude: Chorale-Preludes on “Ich ruf’ zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ” (“I cry to thee, Lord Jesus Christ”), BWV 639, “Sheep may safely graze,” BWV 208, and “Christ lag in Todesbanden” (“Christ Jesus lay in Death’s strong bands”), BWV 625 by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750).

The organ voluntary following the dismissal will be an Improvisation on the song “Unforgettable” by Irving Gordon (1915-1996).

Jeffrey Hoffman is the organist for today’s liturgy.