Clarence M. Nelson, 81

On Wednesday evening, January 17, 2024, Clarence M. Nelson slipped quietly from the comfort of his earthly home into the gates of Heaven with his loving wife and daughter by his side. He was born at home in Oliver Springs, Tennessee on May 28, 1942, and was a lifetime resident of the area.

Clarence is preceded in death by his parents, Virgil and Maude Etta Nelson; a brother, JC Nelson of Harriman; and sister, Doris Mullins of Oliver Springs. Many aunts, uncles, and cousins with one special relative whom he was named after and so proud to often speak about was his Uncle Clarence Conant, who was killed while serving at Pearl Harbor.

Survivors include his loving and devoted wife, Gail (Coker) Nelson, who cared relentlessly for him in his final days.  The love demonstrated by her never wavered and was a clear indication of how their marriage vow was honored.

Children: Gina Bradford and husband, Randy of Harriman, Katrina Morris of Oliver Springs, and Natasha Noe, and husband, Scott of Knoxville. 

Grandchildren: Tayla Morris of Kingston, Shawna Edgemon of Harriman, Zackary Noe of Knoxville, and Wyatt Noe of Knoxville.

Great-granddaughter: Madison Edgemon of Harriman.

Clarence graduated from Oliver Springs High School and attended Tennessee Tech University. He always wanted to be a high school football coach but life took him in a different direction. A short time later he married the love of his life, Gail Coker, who he always referred to as “a cute little thing”. His employment began in the body shop of the Ford Motor Company in Harriman, where he became a well-known mechanic and later transferred to the East Tennessee Motor Company in Knoxville. This start eventually led to him building a garage at home where he did paint and bodywork for friends and neighbors. He returned to Oliver Springs when hired as a Barrier Operator at the K-25 site where he worked for 6 years before moving to the Y-12 Plant in 1981. He retired from Y-12 in 2005 as Fire Captain, with 24 years of service, once receiving an Award of Excellence for his quick response during an event that resulted in saving the life of a co-worker.

Clarence was a proud firefighter on-and-off the job. In 1972, he was one of the original members to establish the Blair Volunteer Fire Department. What began in a garage of one of the member’s homes in the Dyllis community, has evolved into a fully operational fire program and is still in operation today. Clarence became Fire Chief in 1990 and remained a loyal and dedicated team member with 46 years of service. In 2014, Clarence received recognition for his many contributions to his community and to Roane County and was officially designated a Roane Treasure by the committee.

Above all, he was a Christian and Godly man who loved the Lord, his church, his family, and his community.  He had a servant’s heart and a laugh that could make anyone smile. He was an encourager, a coach for little league baseball and girls’ softball teams and loved helping young people find their purpose and path in life. He was a people person and met no stranger. He was humble and never wanted to be in the spotlight nor have attention focused on him.  He loved to sing gospel songs and lead the choir in his home church of New Fairview Baptist where he was raised as a kid and a lifetime member. He always had a song in his heart, a smile on his face, and always, always aimed to do the right thing even when doing the right thing was the most difficult. He was a man of his word. He was honest, loyal, dedicated, reliable, and was always standing ready to assist someone in need, regardless of what that need was nor the time of day he was called to assist. He was a man of God and the way he lived his life is a testimony to his faith and love for his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Funeral services will be held at 2:30 pm, Sunday, January 28, 2024, at New Fairview Baptist Church, 238 Fairview Circle, Oliver Springs, TN, 37840, with Rev. Jeff Parrott officiating. The family will receive friends from 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm. The church service and interment will follow and proceed to the family plot in the church cemetery. Serving as pallbearers will be Ray Burney, Paul (Red) Lawson, Levi Laymance, Ty Laymance, Larry Sather, and Randy Alcorn.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in memory of Clarence to the Blair Volunteer Fire Department, 1911 Old Harriman Highway, Oliver Springs, TN, 37840.

The family would like to thank the Professional Case Management Home Health for the loving and compassionate care provided during his illness, and to Amedisys, for the care and guidance provided for the last 1.5 years.  A special thank you to April O’Neill, Sharon Higdon, and Gwendolyn Carden, PCM nurses, who worked double and triple shifts during the inclement weather, caring for him in his final days/hours. Their love and dedication will not be forgotten.

Online register book may be signed at Fraker Funeral Home of Kingston is in charge of arrangements.

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