William Lee Nelson ’54

Born December 18,1932 in Jackson, Louisiana to Mary Lee and William Ozzie Nelson, Bill was predeceased by his parents, his sisters, Mary Nelson Dunlap and Martha Nelson Phifer and his nephew, Mark Alexander McNeill. Bill is survived by his loving wife of 32 years, Sue. He is also survived by his daughters, Zan Nelson Davis (John) of Clemmons, NC and Roxanne Nelson King (George) of Spartanburg, SC, his son William Lee Nelson, Jr. (Ginger) of Lewisville, NC and stepson, Jeff Smith (Todd Buckley) of Mocksville, NC. Bill is also survived by six grandchildren: John G. Davis, Jr, Elizabeth M. King, Kimberly R. Davis, Meredith L. Davis (Matt Jackson), William L. Nelson, III and Tanner M. Nelson. Bill is also survived by his nephew, Homer Craig Phifer, III (Lynne) and his niece, Shannon Francisco.

The son of a Presbyterian Minister, Bill was born in Jackson, LA, lived in Henderson, TX, New Orleans, LA, Ellisville, MS, and Robbins, NC. Bill entered Davidson College on a football scholarship, then graduated from Davidson College in 1954. Receiving commission through the ROTC program at Davidson, he served two years as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division as a paratrooper team leader. He graduated from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 1959, after which he entered the FBI as a Special Agent. In 1962, he began practicing law in Siler City, NC. Bill next moved to Winston-Salem where he enjoyed practicing law for over 50 years. He was an energetic member of the Winston-Salem Jaycees, the Forsyth County Bar Association and NC Bar Association.

Bill was known to be “the life of the party!” He was an extraordinary Chili Chef known for really “hot” chili. In May 1991, Bill realized a lifetime highlight, a hole in one at Tanglewood East Course. Bill bled “Carolina Blue” and was a faithful Tarheel. He was quick-witted and interjected humor often, whether hosting his annual Office Christmas Party, or emceeing bus trips to Chapel Hill.

He was notorious for teasing his neighbors in Brookcliffe, who would remember and revere him for years to come. Bill was the original “Bad News Bears” coach of his son’s little league baseball team. He was his daughters’ biggest fan in their equestrian adventures.

In addition to his affinity for adventure, Bill was the first to welcome you into his home for a UNC game, a round of poker, or a “funny” orange juice. Known as the “Bard of Buena Vista”, one was considered fortunate not to become fodder for his saucy poetry. He also loved traveling with Sue and their friends, attending endless local performances, and entertaining the neighbors with his stories. He was loved and will be missed by all.

In keeping with Bill’s wishes, the family is holding a private memorial service.

In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests donations be made to a charity of choice.