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Heights Funeral Home

1317 Heights Blvd, Houston, TX

OBITUARY

Nela Thomas Brown

November 10, 1949January 10, 2016
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Nela Laura Thomas Brown was born in Livingston Texas November 10th 1949 to R.C. “Joe” Thomas and Dollie Vestal Thomas. She grew up in Livingston and, after graduating with honors from Livingston H.S. in 1968, went on to the University of Texas at Austin. There she met Michael “Mike” L. Brown, the love of her life. Nela and Mike were married in 1971, in a simple on-campus wedding. She received her BA from U.T. in 1971 and went on to become the first woman to achieve her federal grade level in the Austin office of the Internal Revenue Service. Nela and Mike moved to Houston in 1974 for Mike’s legal career. In 1975, their son, Robert Brown, was born. While working, Nela attended the University of Houston Law Center, and received her Doctorate of Juris Prudence there in 1977. Nela was the first woman to hold the position of Manager of Research and Analysis for United Energy Resources and was honored by N.O.W. as "Outstanding woman of the year" in 1980. In 1984 she became the first woman to hold a managerial position in the history of Shell Oil. After being a tax manager for Shell from 1980-1994, she began working in the environmental law division. She eventually became the head of state governmental relations for Shell in 2000. By the time she retired, Nela was a Vice President at Equiva Oil Services, a Shell joint venture. She was a true trailblazer for women, who constantly encouraged the women around her to work hard and strive for more. On top of her demanding professional life, Nela always made time to help others. She spearheaded a campaign to establish gun-free zone laws around schools. She chaired the Texas Gulf Coast United Fund committee that oversaw use of appropriations. Her love for her son and concern for his learning disabilities drove her to push for change for all children in H.I.S.D. She worked tirelessly to help schools understand the differences and the brilliance behind all children. She received several commendations from the Gulf Coast United Way for her efforts. She tutored children from low-income areas and helped to provide tutors, mentors, and room sponsors from the business world. She worked to mold H.I.S.D's task force focused on A.D.D. and A.D.H.D. and the implementation and understanding of the A.D.A for teachers and principals throughout the district. Nela did all this while coaching little league, soccer, and writing grants for The Boys and Girls Harbor of Texas. Her dream was to see all children blossom and find a path, and not to be dismissed because they were different. After the loss of her beloved husband "Mike" in 2010 Nela found a passion true to her heart, the rescue of stray animals in Houston. This was her calling. She was relentless when it came to helping abandoned and forgotten animals in her city. She constantly pushed for regulatory changes at the city level as well. By establishing the group "Frisky Paws Rescue", she was able to make a difference in the lives of countless animals. Nela’s animals brought great joy to her life. Nela was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and courageously fought the battle of a lifetime. She never showed the constant pain that she endured from her treatment, and she remained positive for those around her until the very end, a truly amazing feat. Her beloved Michael, and her mother Dollie Vestal Thomas preceded her in death. She is survived by: her son, Robert, father, “Joe” Thomas, brother, Claud Thomas and his wife Candy, numerous brothers and sisters in law, and several cousins, nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held in the Chapel of Heights Funeral Home on Friday, January 15, 2016 at 2:00 pm with visitation one hour prior to the service. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to Frisky Paws Rescue Charity (www.friskypawsrescue.org) or the charity of your choice.

Services

  • Reception

    Friday, January 15, 2016

  • Memorial Service

    Friday, January 15, 2016

Memories

Nela Thomas Brown

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Patrick Willis

April 16, 2016

I met Nela at Petsmart summer of 2015.
She is one Beautiful person.
The world is a better place because of Nela.

Lydia Caldwell

March 13, 2016

Nela, I am heartbroken that you are no longer with us. You were an angel on earth for SO many!!! I will never forget you and will always sing your praises. You will be forever loved and missed.

Jo Johnson

January 21, 2016

I met Nela at PetSmart when we became "talking buddies" about my issues with my many "rescue" kitties. She was the most informative person I had ever been around.

I will truly miss her and I know that all of the "rescue kitties" will also miss her.

Greg Cain

January 18, 2016

Nela was my first boss at Shell and I never encountered a quicker mind. I remember the green dinosaur her son had drawn on her whiteboard; it stayed up for weeks. I'd lost touch and didn't know of her work on behalf of rescue animals, but I'm sure it was prodigious. You'd never forget Nela. I am glad to have known her.

January 18, 2016

Nela was an exceptional woman with a big heart for saving Houston animals.
I met her through our rescue work and was a huge fan of hers. The rescue community has taken quite a loss with her passing, but I know that her heroic efforts have inspired many to continue the fight. I suspect that hundreds of cats and dogs will be waiting for Nela at the Rainbow Bridge....my thoughts and prayers to Nela and her family. Sincerely, Dr. Pat Ryan

Natalie C.

January 15, 2016

Nela you will be missed by BARC and all the furrbabies. You were a blessing to us all. We will never forget all that you did for these babies.

Colleen Borum

January 15, 2016

I would not have a pet I love if not for Nela, my beloved Sade was set to die that day in September, 2009, but Nela steered me to her. I know I am not alone, Nela saved countless lives, animal and human and it hurts so much to know I will never walk into BARC and into her presence again.

Cyndia Contreras

January 15, 2016

I know Nela through BARC met about 5 years ago but we saw each other so often it felt much longer she was a very nice person and a mentor for many people through out her life. I honestly can say that I loved Nela she saved me when I Pit Mix grab my arm sank his teeth almost to the bone so she was my angel and hero.I bare the scar that will forever remind me of dear Nela.

My sincere condolences to her family
Cyndia Contreras
HeavenlyBarcs A.R.

January 15, 2016

I did not have the pleasure of knowing this woman. Reading the obituary gave me keen insight into the phenomenal woman she must have been. Prayers offered for her son and her father and all her friends.

January 14, 2016

I remember Nela from Livingston schools. She was always kind and friendly to those around her. My condolences to her family.
Leslie Bryan, Texas

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