Cover photo for Dorothy Nelms's Obituary
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1916 Dorothy 2022

Dorothy Nelms

August 27, 1916 — July 4, 2022

Odessa, Texas

A Letter from Dorothy

Hallelujah! I'm finally free of this earthly life and now I'm home with my Heavenly Father! But let me share a little of my life's story with you…

I began life August 27, 1916, in Reagan, TX, Falls County, the daughter of King Davis Sr. & Cornelius Brown. I was their only daughter and the second child born. We affectionately called my older brother, King Davis Jr. "K.D.." After losing my parents at the age of three, my brother and I went to live with our grandparents, Newt & Josephine Brown, on their farm. A couple of my mother's sisters, Aunt Maude & Aunt Sis, assisted my grandparents in rearing us. Although my childhood was marked by World War I and the Great Depression, I only knew tremendous love and devotion. I happened to live through nineteen presidents! The high-light of my life was to see the first African-American President, Barack Obama, elected into office two terms! I also witnessed the first African-American woman, Kamala Harris , elected as Vice-President. These are two feats I never imagined would occur in my lifetime. God is so awesome!

At the age of seventeen, I met, fell in love, and married the only man of my dreams: Maurice Nelms. We married on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 1934. Our union lasted seventy-five (75) years until Maurice's passing on December 19, 2009.

We were blessed with five (5) children; the eldest, Willie Ray, lived only a few days. Our second son, Lynn Chester, was born in 1934; he was very mischievous but very smart. He played drums in high school, served his country in the U.S. Air Force, and enjoyed a long career as a journeyman plumber. Lynn passed away in December 2012. He blessed us with our second and third granddaughters: Patricia Lynn Harris (John) and Linda Faye Williams (Gerald), both of Dallas, TX. My third child, a daughter we named Beautel, was affectionally called "Beauty." She was my direct, feisty, in-your-face, and extremely loyal child. She studied nursing in Denver, CO, where she retired from Wheatridge State School. Beauty gained her wings in April 2018. She blessed us with our eldest granddaughter, Janice Marie Hall- Hodges of Pearland, TX, and eldest grandson, Keith A. Ramos of Denver, Co. My fourth child and second daughter, Shirley Faye Marshall, is a very kind, giving, and compassionate person. She attended Odessa College, moved to Dallas, TX, and retired from Adult Protective Services. For the last two years, Shirley put her life on hold to become my full-time caregiver. She blessed us with two grandsons, David Sean Harrison (Melissa) of Waxahachie, TX, and Jason "Jay" Sherard Harrison. Jay also gained his wings in June 2014. My youngest child and son, Morris St. Clair (Mary), live in Odessa to be close to me (I'd like to think that). He enjoyed a forty-seven-year-long career in the oil industry, working for Phillips Petroleum. He is very active as a deacon, trustee, and choir member at the Greater St. John Baptist Church. He & Mary blessed us with our two youngest granddaughters, Minister Shelby Diane Nelms and Lacy Carol Aaron (Lorenzo), both of Euless, TX. In addition to the eight grandchildren listed above, I was wonderfully blessed with eleven great-grandchildren and eleven great-great-grandchildren.

Now that I've bragged a little on my offspring, I must tell you more about my life's journey. We lived in Reagan, TX, until the mid-forties, before moving to Niles, Michigan, where my husband found work as a machinist. While living in Michigan, Morris was born. It is also where I developed a life-long friendship with my neighbor, Bettye Pittman. Our friendship continued for over sixty years, strictly thru letters and phone calls. This is remarkable, as we never saw each other again after I moved back to Texas. Once we returned to Texas, my husband & I both worked the cotton fields. In 1954, our house burned, but fortunately, no one was injured. A few years later, in August 1956, we headed to West Texas- Odessa, that is, in search of a better life.

We rented a one-room apartment down in the "Flats." During this time, we found a church home, Greater St. John Baptist Church, under the leadership of Rev. L. H. Hall. We purchased our first and only home, in the New Edition, in 1958. During the years, our children attended Douglass & Carver Elementary & Blackshear High. I worked in private homes for the E. Morris & Babb Jr. & Sr. Families. My last employment was in the home of the late Ed & Trigger Phillips, where I remained an employee for over twenty-five years. I've enjoyed a very close relationship with their children, son Dee (wife Janie) & daughter Nancy Phillips.

Some of my dearest friend's children became my friend: Doris Anderson of Houston, TX, and Billie Kaiser Richardson of Aurora, CO. I am thankful for Dorothy Mae Parks, who lived next door for over fifty years. My church family has yielded some great friendships over the years. I have been blessed to call my sister Lula Washington of Odessa, TX. She and I met back in the 1950s; Maurice shared a great friendship with her late husband, Ray. I am incredibly grateful and appreciative of the close friendship I shared with the late Golden Levine of LaPorte, TX, formerly of Odessa. I treasured the times Goldie & I shared while visiting my granddaughter in Houston.

There are too many friends and family members to list; however, know that I love you all. I tried to live a life pleasing to God. I hope I have succeeded. Please remember my favorite saying, "I ain't got time to be mad at nobody." My favorite bible verse was always: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

I look forward to meeting God so I can hear Him say, "Well Done My Good and Faithful Servant."

Love, Dorothy

P.S. Since I loved hats, do me the honor of wearing your finest hat to my service.

Viewing for Mrs. Nelms will only be at Martinez Funeral Home during the visitation July 14, 2022 from 1:00PM to 9:00PM.

A Celebration of Dorothy's Life will be celebrated at 10Am Friday July 15, 2022 at Greater St John Baptist Church 212 S Muskingum Ave. Odesa, TX 79761, with Rev E.J. Miller and other Ministers officiating.

Burial will follow at Ector County Cemetery 'Los Angeles section'

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

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, July 14, 2022

1:00 - 9:00 pm (Eastern time)

Martinez Funeral Home ~Inside Chapel~


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Celebration of Life

Friday, July 15, 2022

Starts at 10:00 am (Eastern time)

Greater St. John Baptist Church

212 S Muskingum Ave, Odessa, TX 79761

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