Murphy Funeral Homes


Shirley A. Nelson

February 18, 1935December 31, 2020

Shirley was born on February 18, 1935 in Washington, DC to Richard and Evelyn Samples. She grew up in Georgetown with her parents and sister. She worked as a Bookkeeper for a few different private companies for many years. Then she went to work in a Pharmacy as a clerk until she retired.

She married Denny Nelson on June 19, 1955, and they had five children. She loved her family and friends and enjoyed spending time with them.

Shirley is survived by her son, Ricky Nelson, (Debbie), daughters, Sherry Nelson, Lynda Nelson Lee, (John), Kimberly Nelson Freeman, (Alan), and Lori Nelson. She had eight grandchildren, eight great grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild. She had several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, Denny Nelson, her parents, Richard and Evelyn Samples, and her sister, Randi L. Siron.

In Lieu of flowers, please make a donation to St. Judes Children's Hospital at Donate now to St. Jude and help kids fighting cancer - St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memory of Shirley Nelson using recipient Sherry Nelson at Condolences and fond memories may be made to the Nelson family at


  • Celebration of Life

    Tuesday, January 12, 2021


  • Graveside Service

    Tuesday, January 12, 2021



Shirley A. Nelson

have a memory or condolence to add?


January 15, 2021

I want to extend my sincere condolences to THE NELSON FAMILY for the loss of their Mother, Grandmother and Great Grandmother and all her devoted friends. I have lost a friend that I was so blessed to have had over 55 years. Daily contact with her was my blessing each day. We have spent so many hours the past few years on the phone discussing you name it...we talked it. She was the most giving and caring person and of course loved her vegetable soup the best in FC. She meant so much to my family...always remembering the little ones with her cards and dollars. She loved writing and sending cards. I know she is in HEAVEN watching over all of us and maybe trying to call me to wake me up as she did so so many mornings per my request so I would not miss an appointment. Heaven has received another ANGEL. I will miss her so much.

Cyndi Graves

January 13, 2021

My deepest sympathy to family and friends of Shirley. She was one my my mother’s dearest friends. We all grew up and lived on Chepstow Lane. Many memories were made there.
The Nelson’s
The Graves
The Small’s
The Dixon’s
And so many more. We were all a huge family.
Shirley will always be remembered for her loving heart and the best Sweet Tea in Va.
You will be truly missed.

Kimberly Nelson Freeman

January 13, 2021

Love you forever, Little Mommy!
(I think I started calling you that after Dad died because, I guess, I wanted to protect and care for you, like you were a child that had a giant boo-boo, and needed some extra lovin'!)

Here is part of my tribute to the most selfless lady I know...

She was always there for us, like the background music in the grocery store that makes your shopping trip a little more enjoyable!
She took care of all of us...AND her mother, Evelyn, when she was no longer self-sufficient. (sharing the responsibility with her sister). She not only was a stay-at-home mom to her own 5 children, (the hardest job on Earth, in my opinion) but she accepted others into her humble home for daycare, and they became part of our family. She would go to work outside of the home when money was tight, (and so she wouldn’t kill anyone, I’m sure!) but would be back home to magically put dinner on the table for all 8 of us by 5pm every night.
She could make a mean pot roast and delicious vegetable soup! (And put love into a box of macaroni and cheese like nobody else! Hahaha)
She struggled. But she didn’t burden us with the details. It’s going to be interesting to read her journals!
Mom’s love was constant and cozy, like a warm bath or soft blanket—but not a weighted blanket! (You’ll have to ask Lori about that one…)
People tell me I favor my mother. I see my mom when I look in the mirror; more every day. Sometimes Alan calls me “Shirley, Jr.” Thanks! I will take that as the highest compliment!
P.S. Mom…I’m sorry I barely said goodbye to you on my first day of Kindergarten and made you cry as I skipped onto the school bus.

Amy Nelson-Srdanovic

January 12, 2021

My dearest Nelson cousins,

My love and thoughts are with you as you say good bye to Auntie. Aunt Shirley was one funny lady and she’ll be dearly missed by all who knew her. We are all touched by her kindness and she’ll always have a place in my heart. I’m sure she’s with grandma Nelson trying to keep Uncle Ben, my dad and Uncle Terry in line or joining them in their antics.

The world lost another perfect woman.

Love you all

Cynthia Stinnett

January 12, 2021

Dear Nelson family,
We were so sorry to hear of Aunt Shirley's passing. I have lots of good memories as a kid visiting all of you whenever we moved. Lots and lots of laughter. I remember vividly getting a box many different years of hand me done clothes. It was so great and appreciated. The thing I remember most about Aunt Shirley was her laugh, full and rich. I can hear her laughing even now as I think of her. We are praying for you all, God's comfort, strength, peace, and help as you face the days ahead, and missing her. We love you!
With love Cynthia and Duke

Janine Stowers

January 12, 2021

I am so sorry for your loss. Mrs. Nelson was a beautiful person inside and out. I am glad I got to share your parents when I was younger, her and Denny were one of a kind. They loved you for who you were. They made me laugh and I was happy every time I went there to hang out with my great friend Lyn. Please know, Lyn, Ricky, Sherry, Kim and Lori you are in my thought and prayers. She was a Great Mother. Prayer and Hugs Love, Janine

Nick Freeman

January 12, 2021

I will always remember her acceptance of all people (whether she agreed with them or not), her talkative and hilarious nature, and her generosity towards my brother and me. She was always supportive of my education interests and (when we came to visit her) my love of Sun Chips and lunch meat sandwiches. I loved the letters we wrote back and forth, becoming occasional pen pals of sorts since we lived fairly far away from each other and snail mail made those interactions even more special. I am infinitely grateful that I have known and loved her all my life.

Elizabeth Blue

January 11, 2021

Shirley was such a BEAUTIFUL person inside and out. I have known her my whole life. SHE WILL BE MISSED BY SO MANY OF US. My mother (Judy) use to say "Shirley was the FINEST person she ever knew." All my LOVE to you all.

Glen DuBose

January 11, 2021

Shirley was always kind and loving to me and my family.
May she rest in peace and always watch over us.
Goodbye Shirley Love you

Michael Ruiz

January 11, 2021

Shirley has a beautiful soul and I know she is in heaven with our loved ones. She welcomed and treated us as family. Her memories with us will be one of love and support. Her kindness came through in everyday interactions and she will never be forgotten.