Ronnie Stather Nelson, age 82, passed peacefully on Saturday March 13, 2021 at her daughter’s home on Verona Island, Maine surrounded by family members.
Formerly of Bangor, Maine, she was the beloved wife of Niles Nelson and loving mother to Lorilyn Lucy (Bill), Randy Nelson (Colleen), Kelley Kraines (Mark), and Kyle Nelson (Amy); sister to Jon Stather, Sidney Stather, and Sally Gehris. Mrs. Nelson is also survived by 9 granddaughters, 4 grandsons, and 3 great-grandchildren.
Ronnie was born in 1939 in Jonesport, Maine to Ronald Small and Amy Kelley Small. She graduated from Bangor High School (class of 1956) and then earned her bachelor’s degree in Home Economics at the University of Maine in 1960.
Ronnie met her adoring husband Niles at the University of Maine where she was a member of the Phi Mu sorority. It was the beginning of their relationship and marriage that would last over 63 years. During that time, they would embark on a journey that took them to many locations as she would become the consummate “coach’s wife”. Her husband pursued his football coaching passion through various high schools and colleges from Florida State to Husson University (Maine) and many stops in between. She was always willing to do “just one more move” to see her husband happy in his career. This came with much self-sacrifice, but she never complained and always accepted the changes as an opportunity to make new friendships.
“Nonnie” to her grandchildren, she was proud of her family and supportive and nurturing to all. With sass and spunk, Ronnie was a true “Mainer” at heart. She spent her summers at Alamoosook Lake with her family and never turned down a lobster meal. Ronnie had a passion for quilting and was known for the many beautiful quilts she made for her children and grandchildren. They are treasured for the memories they evoke. Ronnie had an artistic flair with a love for decorating and music. She was an avid piano player and her music and singing will be remembered whenever we hear her favorite songs.
After raising their family and moving many times, Ronnie and Niles “retired” to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina where they enjoyed the weather, the beach, and many opportunities afforded in the area. They made many lasting friendships in their Christian community at Surfside Presbyterian Church. These relationships were a comfort during their time in Myrtle Beach and during their final relocation to Maine. Their loving support was a great blessing to her which she cherished.
Ronnie will live in our hearts forever. She was a beautiful and loving mother and grandmother who was full of life, always ready to give a hug, a kiss, or words of encouragement to her family. Ronnie’s enduring legacy will be the things she valued the most, those that truly pass the test of time: “Family, Friendships, and Faith”. She made the world better with her humor, love, and faith in Christ. We know that God will bless her and welcome her with open arms as she had an abiding faith in His promises.
A private service for immediate family will be held in Bangor, Maine with arrangements by Brookings-Smith. A larger memorial gathering will be held in the summer of 2021.
Memorial contributions may be made to:
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
ALSAC/St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
501 St. Jude Place
Memphis, TN 38105
Surfside Presbyterian Church
8732 US Highway 17 Bypass South
Myrtle Beach, SC 29588