Because I could not stop for death...
He kindly stopped for me.
  • 69 years old
  • Born on November 14, 1949 in Taylor, Michigan, United States.
  • Passed away on February 1, 2019 in Tampa, Florida, United States.

Kathleen Nelson was born November 14, 1949, first child of second-generation Americans Carl Nelson, World War II army veteran, and his wife Virginia. She grew up on a gravel road, was dressed for school in homemade wares, and enjoyed a simple, happy childhood surrounded by a large family. 

As a teen, she attended and graduated from John F. Kennedy High School in Taylor, Michigan. As a young adult, she worked in Detroit for Difco Labs, frequented dance halls and concerts downtown, and attended the legendary Woodstock music festival in 1969. 

Her first date with Douglas Vervisch on September 27, 1980 led to the couple's elopement just 15 days later in Las Vegas, Nevada, and later the birth of her only son Carl. 

Kathleen served various volunteer and paid roles in the school system, including her compassionate work with special needs children. 

In her spare time, Kathleen took on a myriad of arts, crafts, and carpentry, including oil paint, acrylics, pastels, cut glass, flower arrangement, sewing, cross-stitch, cooking, baking, poetry, prose, calligraphy, hand-made greeting cards, roasting nuts, canning, homemade jams, furniture refinishing, home improvement projects, gardening, composting, and more. She was industrious, resourceful, and fiercely independent. She was an avid reader and staunch believer in the merits of arts and literature, with well-loved collections of books by Steven King, F Scott Fitzgerald, and Emily Dickinson, and albums by the likes of the Beatles, Rod Stewart, Neil Diamond, the Guess Who, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix.

Through the years, her travels took her to Spain, the Bahamas, Cancun, nearly every corner of the US, and scores of Michigan State Park campgrounds. Camping and the outdoors were among her greatest passion in life. 

In 2007, Kathleen suffered a stroke that paralyzed her left side almost completely. Months later, her marriage was sadly cut short after 27 devoted years when Douglas passed away from a heart condition in his sleep. 

Despite her misfortunes, Kathleen went on to build a new life in Tampa Bay, Florida. She took pride in her self-sufficiency, overcoming her mobility issues to continue driving, cooking, and living on her own. Kathleen lived close to her son Carl in Florida and spent many happy holidays, birthdays, and routine visits with him through the years. She stayed active in the local community center where she attended a weekly gathering of dominos players and took part in group lunch outings. During her time as a retiree in Florida, Kathleen became well-known for her gift deliveries to friends near and far of her homemade jams, roasted nuts, hot sauces, granola, cookies, hand-crafted greeting cards, and more. 

In January of 2019, Kathleen was suddenly stricken with jaundice and admitted to a local hospital for treatment. Doctors discovered a cancerous tumor in her bile duct and, after several unsuccessful attempts, determined that her condition was untreatable. She was moved into hospice care, attended throughout her care by Carl and his fiancé Brittany up to her final hours, and passed away peacefully on February 1, 2019 with Carl as her sole survivor.

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