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David A. Nelson, 84
PORTLAND -- David A. Nelson, 84, of Overset Road, died peacefully on June 24, 2013, surrounded by his loved ones at Gosnell Memorial Hospice House after a courageous year-long battle with cancer.
David was born on June 3, 1929, in Borger Texas, the son of Arthur W. and Ellen Nelson. David served for three years in the Air Force, after which he earned a B.A. and M.A. at the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in English Literature at Cornell University. He taught Renaissance Drama and English Literature at Bates College in Lewiston Maine from 1960 to 1992.
David leaves his beloved and loving wife, Dirane Kelekyan of Portland; two children from his first marriage, Stephanie Nelson of Boston, Mass., and James L. and his wife Lisa Nelson of Harpswell; and four grandchildren, Elizabeth, Nathaniel, Jonathan and Abbey.
Since 1992 he enjoyed a rich and fulfilling retirement pursuing his many intellectual and cultural interests and deepening his study of Buddhism. David and his wife Dirane shared a passion for travel which took them to every continent, including the Far East and Australia last November.
David knew how to live life fully. When faced with a cancer diagnosis in May of 2012, he continued to pursue his interests with passion and a positive spirit. Years of Buddhist meditation produced an inner peace which was as inspiring as his kindness and brilliant mind.
A memorial celebration will be held at First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church, 425 Congress St., Portland, on Saturday, July 13, 2013, at 10 a.m., with a reception following. At his request his ashes will be scattered at sea in a private ceremony. Arrangements are under the direction of Coastal Cremation Services, 471 Deering Ave., Portland. Online condolences may be expressed at
Those who wish may make
contributions in David's memory to:
Barre Center for Buddhist Studies 149 Lockwood Rd.
Barre, Massachusetts 01005
David A. Nelson
Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on June 26, 2013
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"I will always remember his enthusiasm and vitality in the classroom, even when teaching Chaucer, which..."
- Rachel Garcelon
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