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NELSON, Nellie

July 14, 1926 – Jakarta, Indonesia
November 28, 2017 – Calgary, Alberta

Petronella (Nellie) Wilhelmina Nelson passed away in Calgary on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 at the age of 91 years, after a stroke.

Nellie was born in Jakarta in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) on July 14, 1926, the eldest child of teachers Joost van Mourik and Amalia van Mourik Kruyt. Her idyllic childhood ended when Japanese forces occupied Indonesia in 1942 during the Second World War. Nellie and her family were held in concentration/internment camps until the end of the War. Her father, who was in a separate camp, did not survive. Nellie and her mother were reunited with her brother Bart after the War and journeyed to The Netherlands where she completed an abbreviated high school program. A job in the geological library at the Universiteit Leiden followed. It was there that she met her future husband, geology student Hans Nelson. His enticing marriage proposal, which included the memorable line “Nellie, you should get your shots”, came just before their move to Colombia in 1951 so that Hans could work on a geological mapping project that formed the basis for his Ph.D.

Nellie and Hans immigrated to Canada in the early winter of 1957, taking the train over the frosty landscape from Montreal to Calgary. Here, Hans secured a position with Imperial Oil Limited. He was transferred to Regina, where Nellie and Hans welcomed daughter Ingrid and then son Robert (Bob). After a few years, they were transferred back to Calgary, where the family remained.

Nellie’s greatest joy was her family. Ingrid and Bob have many fond memories of great love and support while growing up. Nellie was a wonderful mother and wife. Always encouraging, never critical, she was their ever-optimistic confidant and friend. Although a shy person, Nellie was also devilishly charming and possessed a great sense of humour. A “pleasantly stubborn Dutch” grandma was what her health check-up read. Always calm, with a sunny, care-free disposition, she seemed immune from bad moods and cross words. Her creative talents included painting, baking, sewing and embroidery. She enjoyed travel, seeing much of the world.

Nellie was predeceased by her loving husband Hans in 2007. She is survived by her adoring children, daughter Ingrid (David) Phillips and son Bob Nelson (Sandy Arsenault); and lovingly remembered as Oma by her four grandchildren, John, Lindsay Amalia, Kelly and Christopher, each of Calgary. Her younger brother in The Netherlands, Bart (Henny) van Mourik, predeceased her in 2016. Nellie is also survived by a number of nephews, nieces and cousins, most of whom live in The Netherlands. Also remembered are her close long-time friends Ton and Nel Audretsch and their family.

A Celebration of Nellie’s Life will be held at McINNIS & HOLLOWAY (Park Memorial, 5008 Elbow Drive S.W. Calgary, AB) on Wednesday, December 6, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. Reception to follow at the Funeral Home. Condolences may be forwarded through The family wishes to thank Nellie’s long time physician, Dr. Cindy Mitchell, as well as Dr. van der Westhuizen and the wonderful nurses and staff at the Rockyview General Hospital.

In living memory of Nellie Nelson, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Park Memorial, 5008 ELBOW DRIVE S.W. Calgary, AB, T2S 2L5, Telephone: 403-243-8200.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Andries Flierjans :

    Dear Ingrid and Bob and all of the family,

    Please accept my condolences with the loss of your mother. In the short time I got to know her at The Edgemont, she struck me as a warm and charming person with a great sense of humour. Her passing must leave a big void in your world.

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