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Betty B. (Bright) Nelson

October 31, 1923 ~ September 8, 2017 (age 93)

The Piano Brothers

Betty Bright Nelson, 93, of Easton passed away on Friday, September 8, 2017, at Bayleigh Chase Assisted Living in Easton. She was born in Easton on October 31, 1923, the daughter of the late Charles Bright and Nellie Robinson Bright. 

Raised in Easton by her aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Butler, Betty graduated from Easton High School, Class of 1940.  She continued her studies at St. Mary's College, and in 1950 received a Law Degree from the University of Baltimore.  She was the first woman to practice law in Dorchester County.  Betty returned to school and earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania in 1957.  She was a social worker at the Eastern Shore State Hospital, Cambridge, until 1968, when she became the Project Director for a state-wide Continuing Education Program.  In 1970, she was named  Director of  The Health Planning Council of the Eastern Shore. 

On April 26 , 1952, Betty married Chester C. Nelson and for the 46 years of their marriage they made their home in Cambridge.  Mr. Nelson died on July 5, 1998.   A life-long Episcopalian and member of Christ Episcopal Church, Cambridge, for 65 years, Mrs. Nelson was the first woman to serve in several official positions in both her church and in the Episcopal Diocese of Easton.  She was elected to the Christ Church Vestry in 1967, and later became the first woman Senior Warden of Christ Church.  Betty was one of the first two women to be elected by the Diocese in 1972 to be a Deputy to the national General Convention.  In 1986, Bishop Elliot Sorge appointed her as the Coordinator for the Diocesan Convention, Diocesan Council, Department of Missions, and the liaison to the Committee on Constitution and Canons.  With Bishop Sorge, she worked to expand and extend lay ministry to all facets of Diocesan life.  She was an inspiration over the years for many women in the Diocese of Easton who felt called to lay and ordained ministry. Betty was also active in community groups and organizations.  She was a member of the Cambridge Yacht Club, and was a member and served on the boards of the Dorchester Historical Society and the Dorchester Center for the Arts.  Betty was an avid bridge player, reader, and life-long learner.                

She is survived by a host of friends, especially Kathleen H. Wise (Rev. Douglas Ridley) of Cambridge.  Besides her parents and her husband, Mrs. Nelson is preceded in death by her sister, Charlotte Weise, and a special friend, Dr. Jack Clinch.

A graveside service was held on Thursday, September 14, 2017 at 2 pm at Old Spring Hill Cemetery in Easton with Father Nathaniel Pierce officiating.  A memorial service will be held on Saturday, September 23, 2017, at 11 am at Christ Episcopal Church in Cambridge with Rev. Marianne Sorge Ell and Father Nathaniel Pierce officiating. Friends will be received from 10 to 11.  In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Christ Episcopal Church, P.O. Box 456, Cambridge, MD 21613, or to the Dorchester Historical Society. 

Arrangements are in the care of the Thomas Funeral Home, P.A. in Cambridge.


 Service Information

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