Cover photo for Kermit Gibby Nelson's Obituary
Kermit Gibby Nelson Profile Photo
1933 Kermit 2020

Kermit Gibby Nelson

December 27, 1933 — December 21, 2020

In my earliest memory of my father, Kermit Gibby “Gib” Nelson, he was singing a song.

It was the song he learned at his birth, December 27, 1933 from his parents, Elisha “Mockingbird” Nelson and Pearl Nelson. It was a song he later taught his brothers and sisters; Janet Hardeman, Nell Jenkins, Kenneth Nelson, Ida Green, Elizabeth Carter, and Tommy Nelson.

It was the song he was singing when he entered the U.S. Air Force. For two decades, he sung it in service to his country, as a veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars. When he retired after twenty-one years, he carried on singing for Liberty National Life Insurance.

Sometimes his song was a ballad, like the one he sang to woo my mother; Anzelee Talley Nelson, when he convinced her to marry him. Sometimes it was a lullaby that comforted me and my younger brother Steve, sister Sharon Everson, and youngest brother Charles. We taught it to our children, Taschia Salas, Patricia Parrish, Eric Nelson, Marie Taylor, Somer Everson, Donald Everson, Julie Krohn, Emma Nelson and Elisha Nelson. It lives on in my father’s eight great-grandchildren.

Sometimes his song was “How Great Thou Art” in praise of his Lord during worship services at the First United Methodist Church. On Saturdays in the fall, it was always “Rocky Top” in honor of the University of Tennessee Volunteers. For a long time after my mother passed away, my father sang the blues. Then he learned a secret song he sang to his second life partner, Darlene Gordon.

My father sang the song of his life with passion, determination, joy, honesty, humility, gratitude, curiosity and kindness. Mostly, he sang in service to others, especially his family and friends.

On December21, 2020, six days shy of his eighty-seventh birthday, my father’s song was cut short by cancer. But those of us he left behind have picked up the chorus, and we sing on in his absence, hoping he’ll be pleased with our performance when we are one day reunited. My father’s song lives on in each of us. May we sing it well.

In lieu of flowers please donate to the American Cancer Society.

Donate by Phone

To donate to the American Cancer Society by phone, call 1-800-227-2345.

Donate by Mail

To donate by mail, simply download the form from the link below, print it, and mail the completed donor form with your check to this address:
American Cancer Society
P.O. Box 22478
Oklahoma City, OK 73123

Gibby K. Nelson, Jr.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Kermit Gibby Nelson, please visit our flower store.

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Graveside

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

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