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William J. "Bill" Nelson

Pause Best of Times by Bruce H. Zimmerman (ASCAP)
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Thank you for your support during this difficult time. Please enhance this tribute to Bill by adding your memories..


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Gately Funeral Home

79 West Foster Street
Melrose, MA 02176
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“To Barbara and the Nelson Family I was sorry to hear of Bill's passing. There are so many good memories of Bill at Sheila's Grove. ”
1 of 10 | Posted by: Bob Coughlin - Osterville, MA

“Bill &Bob go back almost 80 years, so there are too many memories to sort through. We have lost our oldest,dearest friend. We feel like a member of...Read More »
2 of 10 | Posted by: Bob & Marge Moriarty - Melbourne, FL

“Barbara and family - we are so sorry for your loss. We met Bill and you at Laura's wedding. He obviously loved his family. Our hearts go out to all...Read More »
3 of 10 | Posted by: Cathy Langtry - Salem, NH

“I'm so sorry to hear about your loss, and glad I was able to see Bill and Barbara in recent times. ”
4 of 10 | Posted by: Diann Johnson - FL - Family

“My thoughts and prayers are with all of you Nelson girls and family. I have wonderful memories of Mr. Nelson. Such a wonderful sense of humor! I...Read More »
5 of 10 | Posted by: Mary Claire - Fort Lauderdale, FL

“I am so sorry Lynne and Dan. Your family will be in my loving thoughts and prayers . ”
6 of 10 | Posted by: Louise Doyle - Tyngsborough, MA

“I didn't know Bill for very long but liked him from the moment I met him. I could see and feel the love he felt for his family and saw how he looked...Read More »
7 of 10 | Posted by: Linda Boisvert - Nashua, NH

“I am so sad that Papa Bill is no longer with his family. I remember him as a kind and funny man. And he loved my pug Chu. He will be missed, his...Read More »
8 of 10 | Posted by: Marsha Morlock - Haines City, FL

“Mr. Nelson was loved by all. He was always kind and good to me which I am sure wasn't easy since he knew me best during my teenage years growing up...Read More »
9 of 10 | Posted by: Becky Reilly - Los Angeles, CA

“The Gately Family and Staff wish to express our sincere sympathy to you. It is our hope that we may be able to make a difficult time more bearable....Read More »
10 of 10 | Posted by: John W. Gately, John H. Gately & Fred Sprague - MA

Heaven has gained a special angel today.

He was 83 and a loving Son, Brother, Husband, Father, Grandfather, Great Grandfather (Papa) and Friend to too many to count. Today-as we have always joked, a man who fathered four girls but had one bathroom at home will not have to wait at the pearly gates-he will be welcomed and sent right through.

Bill lost his short battle with the horrific virus COVID 19, with his wife by his side, on 4/25/2020 at Fairhaven in Lowell Ma.

Bill was born to the late William and Grace Nelson on 5/17/1936 in Fall River/Attleboro and had one sister; the late Carol Jennings. He grew up in Somerville and graduated from Somerville HS, class of 1954, with his HS sweetheart Barbara Phimister (Nelson). They later married on 11/4/1956 and had an amazing 63 years together. Right out of high school, he went to work for the telephone company (MaBell…New England Telephone....Verizon) for 40 years and had hundreds of insulators/cobble stones to prove it; one of his many collections, which Barbara always loved. He never missed a chance to cause trouble/mischief wherever he was and whoever he was with. From Billerica, Burlington, Hudson Ma, Pine Street in Melrose, The A Frame, log cabins, and of course Shelia's Grove in Merrimack,-everyone he came in contact with has a funny "Bill Nelson Story". If you weren't laughing or smiling, you never really met our Dad/Papa... or you were the brunt of his jokes. Family, Faith and Friends meant the world to him and Bill and Barbara always made time for all three. He was an avid Boston Sports Fan-All of them! If the players could not hear him yelling through the TV we would be surprised.

He by far is the biggest Disney Fanatic we know; the Disney Cruise staff knew Him by name! He made sure to save up working 2 jobs to bring his family to Disney in 1976 and every couple years after that. He has inspired countless Disney vacations enjoyed by all four of his daughters and their families. He looked forward to every outing, whether it be to one of his grandchildren or great-grandchildren's events, or to grab a card and scratch tickets for Barbara.

He is survived by his loving wife Barbara; his four daughters/spouses; Lynne and Dan Shea, Gayle and George Sweet, Lori and Bill Chisholm, and Joanne and Dana Boisvert; his eleven grandchildren/spouses; Paul and Julie Shea, Laura and Julia Shea-Pelosi, Arkaide Shea, Samantha Sweet, Catherine Sweet, Bobby Chisholm, Danielle Chisholm, Brian Chisholm, McKenna Boisvert, Mallory Boisvert, Adeline Boisvert; and three great grandkids; Grover Shea-Pelosi, Lincoln Shea and Paxton Shea.

Due to COVID-19, Bill will be cremated. The time and location of his memorial service will be determined at a later date, so we can celebrate his amazing life with all of our family and friends, once we are allowed to return to our "new normal" life.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made in Bill's name to St. Jude Children's research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or @

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