Ellen “Dell” Nelson



Bass Harbor

Ellen “Dell” Nelson died peacefully, surrounded by her family, on Nov. 25, 2020, in her home in Bass Harbor, where she was loved and cared for by her daughter Libby.

Dell was born in Newton, Mass., on Oct. 17, 1924, to Stephen E. and Ellen J. Mathews. She graduated from Belmont High School in 1942 and Boston University in 1946. Following graduation, Dell worked at Boston University and Harvard. She married the love of her life, Lewis “Lew” F. Nelson, and four years later gave birth to twin daughters Elizabeth “Libby” and Ellen. Dell spent much of her married life in North Haven, Conn., where she was active in Kappa Kappa Gamma, the League of Women Voters, her church and her daughters’ schools. After Lew had a stroke in his mid-50s, Dell moved the family to Bass Harbor, where she worked three jobs so that she could care for Lew and support her girls.

Dell was an avid reader, sleeping with stacks of books on her bed, and adored politics. She approached her life with humor and positivity, embraced every day as a new adventure and was very funny. She loved her cousins and her friends deeply, and welcomed every one of her daughters’ friends as family.

She loved Nan, who kept her laughing, and absolutely adored her son-in-law Dennis, who’s peck on the cheek would make her eyes twinkle. But, most of all, she loved her daughters with all of her heart, appreciated them as individuals and made them feel like they were capable of great things. Dell’s love for Abby, her only grandchild, was immeasurable, and she was immensely proud that Abby was graduating from Boston University this spring.

Dell was predeceased by her parents and her husband. She is survived by her twin daughters, Libby Nelson, Ellen Nelson Kelley and her husband, Dennis, and her beloved granddaughter Abby Elizabeth Kelley.

Her family will be forever grateful for the love and care given to her by Lori and Ginny. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Southwest Harbor Public Library, P.O. Box 157, Southwest Harbor. A memorial service will be held in the summer when it is safe for all to gather.

Arrangements by Acadia Burial & Cremation Direct, 248 State St., Ellsworth. Condolences may be expressed at www.acadiacremation.com.

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