Mary Carolin (Lee) Nelson was born on May 17, 1937 in Pomona, California, the only child born to parents Helen and Marks Lee. Named for being "merry" and happy, Mary found happiness in her garden, with collecting beautiful treasures, by spending time with her family and with her supportive friends - corresponding often with those that lived further away.
She grew up in Pomona where she lived among orange groves that her father cared for during much of her childhood. Her mother was a teacher, a profession Mary Carolin herself pursued as her career after graduating from the University of Redlands and attending Claremont Graduate School.
Mary Carolin's teaching career began with teaching first and second grade. Then, after spending time raising her children, she taught English as a Second Language through the Escondido Adult School. Mary Carolin was a kind and patient teacher and loved her students. She would often share stories of their successes and engage with them beyond the classroom. Mary Carolin also loved music and she played the viola and violin, sang in numerous choirs and loved to play the bells at Trinity Episcopal Church. She combined her love of teaching and music by giving music lessons to her daughters and to students over the years.
After retiring from teaching, Mary Carolin, an avid collector, enjoyed collecting glass, photographs and religious artifacts. She enjoyed participating in various organizations associated with her hobbies. She also volunteered her time generously - working in support of the Mission San Luis Rey as a volunteer archaeologist and as a docent for the annual Mother's Day, Escondido home tour -- just to name just a couple of her activities. She was quick to offer rides and support to friends in need.
Mary Carolin met her husband of 55 years, Donald Nelson, in 1965 and they were married in 1967. They moved to Escondido in 1970 to raise their family. They shared a love of nature and of gardening, as well as of their families. Mary Carolin is survived by her husband Don, their daughters Maria and Andrea, son in law Tory and two grandchildren, Katrina and Alyssa.
Services will be held at Trinity Episcopal Church in Escondido on August 22nd at 11am with a light lunch to follow. The family welcomes donations to the San Diego Humane Society to support their community cat program as an expression of sympathy, and in lieu of flowers, through this personalized link, sdhumane.org/Mary Over the years, several cats, some feral, have found their way into the Nelson home and hearts. All have been well loved and cared for by Mary Carolin and Don.
The family has asked that in lieu of flowers please consider donating to sdhumane.org/Mary