Dorothy Nelson


Dorothy Mae Nelson, age 88, the second child of Robert and Mabel Criswell, was born July 9, 1927, in Saratoga, Indiana. She died peacefully on Tuesday, January 26, 2016, in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Dorothy, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, aunt and friend to many, devoted her life to her family, friends, church and community. Being the daughter of and later the wife of a minister, she was an expert at moving, adapting, making parsonages a home and serving others. She was a 1945 graduate of Sullivan High School, earned her bachelor’s degree in English and Spanish from Asbury College in 1949 and a master’s degree in education from Indiana University in 1965. While attending Asbury College, she met her future husband, Boyde Nelson, and they married in 1952. Together they served many United Methodist churches in southern Indiana for the next 40 years. Two of their fondest appointments were at North Vernon First United Methodist from 1967 to 1979 and at Fairview United Methodist in Bloomington from 1983 to 1990. During those years, Dorothy was by profession a secondary English and Spanish teacher, teaching in many Indiana school districts, retiring in 1990.

Dorothy is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Sharon and Steve Harter of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and son and daughter-in-law, Paul and Loretta Nelson of North Vernon, Indiana; five grandchildren, Nathaniel and Zachary Harter, Lauren (Adam) Megel, Alexander and Kyleigh Nelson; and two great-grandchildren, Abigail and Madelene Megel. Additionally, she is survived by her brothers and sisters-in-law, numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Reverend Boyde Nelson, and brother, Reverend Harold Criswell.

Family and friends were of great importance. When not spending time with family, she enjoyed reading, traveling, going to plays, playing piano, singing in church choirs, her pets, cooking, embroidery, quilting and sewing. She was a member of North Vernon United Methodist Church, North Vernon Wednesday Club, Jennings County Retired Teachers Association and Bethel Bible Studies.

A celebration of life will be held at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, February 6, 2016, at First United Methodist Church, 240 Poplar Street, North Vernon, Indiana. The Rev. Marvin Sweet will officiate. Visitation will be at the church an hour prior to the service. Private burial in Vernon Cemetery will follow.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts can be made to North Vernon First United Methodist to continue funding the Reverend Boyde and Dorothy Nelson Endowment, established in 2004, or to the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s at:

Arrangements were entrusted to Sawyer-Pickett Funeral & Cremation Service in North Vernon. We invite family and friends to sign Mrs. Nelson’s online guestbook and light a candle in her remembrance at