Captain James "Jimmy" Nelson, Sr.
Captain James "Jimmy" Monroe Nelson, Sr., 86, of Coden, Al., passed away on April 4th, 2023, after a long illness, surrounded by his family in his home.
Jimmy was born on March 12, 1937 to Elisha and Earline Nelson in Bayou La Batre, Al. He was a thoughtful, loving, and caring husband and dad. He is survived by his wife of sixty-four years, Cecilia "Cele" Steiner Nelson. Jimmy married Cele on November 10, 1958, and she was at his side at the time of his passing. He is also survived by his four children, James "Butch" Nelson, Jr., Scott O. Nelson (Lisa), Frances Nelson Clary (Craig), and Shanna Nelson, along with five grandchildren, Joselynn Roberts, Paige Malone, Adam Clary, Jacob Nelson, and Saylor King, twin great grandchildren, Luna and Liam Roberts and one anticipated great grandchild (Paige Malone), and three siblings, Yvonne Cheevers, Betty Gunnels, and Thomas Nelson. He was preceded in death by his parents, and fourteen siblings, Oliver Nelson, Austin Nelson, Smitty Nelson, Bill Nelson, Jack Nelson, Sydney Nelson, Elisha Nelson, Mickey Nelson, Terry Nelson, Myrtle Cooper, Rose Conway, Francis Zirlott, Kent Nelson, and Avon Lannie.
Jimmy's life was defined by love of family, love of the sea and its adventure, and love of a fisherman's tale. In pursuing and accomplishing all of his life endeavors, he relied on his instincts, good character, natural ability to connect with others, and smile. He was a kind, friendly, and honest husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend. He found happiness in life, and in all those he encountered.
His love of family was shown through his sixty-four-year marriage to his wife Cele. She was the young lady he first saw sitting on a front porch swing wearing white shorts in 1958. When he saw her, it was over, and they were married within months of this life altering vision. His love of family was evident in the way he cared for his four children, and how he longed to know how each one of them was doing in life. He loved and was proud of Butch, Scott, Frances, and Shanna, and had an unspoken individual connection with each. You could see this special individual connection in his eyes and hear it in his voice. This came natural to him. He wanted their lives to be better than his. Then, when grandchildren arrived in his life, one could see in his bright eyes and broad smile that his life had been re-energized. He played with them, and as they grew older, he loved to hear about their days, their dreams, and their desires in life. Near the end of life's journey, he was yet again reinvigorated with the birth of twin great grandchildren and the news of the future arrival of a third great grandchild. This made him long for a few more months of life as he loved his family.
Jimmy's love of the sea and its adventures knew no depth or boundary. While he loved the salt of the sea, and it may have even flowed through his veins causing him to have a salty sway now and again, he was not a salty man. From his childhood to his last day, he dreamed of being on the water. No matter if it was the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, Atlantic Ocean, Panama Canal, or the Pacific Ocean, he thirsted to be on the water. He captained many different vessels and voyages and always envisioned himself climbing onboard one last time and continuing his journey on a lifelong swell. During his life at sea, he fished commercially for shrimp, swordfish, and tuna in the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and Atlantic Ocean. In the second leg of life's voyage, he delivered work vessels to various ports around the world, including along the Gulf Coast, Islands in the Caribbean, Central America, Pacific Coast of the U.S., and Hawaii. He loved the adventurous life at sea and its freedom.
Jimmy's love for a fisherman's tale was well-known and enjoyed by his family, close friends, especially Ivan Kinslow, and anyone who encountered him in life, including his physicians, nurses, and therapists. With his ease of conversation, genuine interest in others, and gentleness as a person, he perfected the art of a fisherman's tale. He never met a stranger, and this was his way of being in communion with everyone and creating bonds of friendship. This was one of his best and most pure qualities as a good soul.
Thankfully, he is now able to share his love of family, the sea, and fisherman's tales indefinitely without the painful and troublesome chains of life on Earth. Jimmy will be remembered for his love of life and for all those in it. He showed us that life is long, if you know how to use it.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in favor of St. Margaret Catholic Church or McGill-Toolen Catholic High School.