Nellie Zemma Bird Mims

August 18, 1920June 7, 2019

Nellie Zemma Bird Mims passed away on Friday, June 7, 2019, at the age of 98 in Tallahassee, Florida. She was born in Colquitt, Georgia, to Waver Lane and Wiley Wilkin Bird on August 18, 1920, the day that the 19th Amendment was ratified and women in the United States were granted the right to vote.

Nellie grew up in Colquitt with her childhood sweetheart, Edwin Thomas Mims, whom she married after the end of WWII. Lt. Col. Mims was a career Air Force officer whose assignments took his family across the nation and overseas to Bermuda, England and Turkey. A devoted military wife, Nellie made nurturing homes for her family wherever they were stationed and encouraged learning and exploration at every tour of duty. She was a gourmet cook, a seamstress, a milliner (yes, she made hats when women wore hats!), an artist, antique collector and genealogist. Above all, Nellie was a lifelong learner and a teacher having earned a BA from the University of Georgia and a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of South Carolina.

After Ed’s retirement in 1973, they settled in Tallahassee where Nellie taught remedial reading in elementary schools for many years. She was a member of Trinity United Methodist Church, DAR, UDC, Colonial Dames, American Legion Auxiliary, and the Military Officers Assoc. Auxiliary. In addition, she and Ed were founding members of the Tallahassee Genealogical Society.

Westminster Oaks Retirement Community was a caring and gracious home in Nellie’s final years. Even after her memory and speech failed her, she still greeted everyone with a smile, a wave and a cheery “Hello, hello.”

Nellie was preceded in death by her brother Wiley Wilkin Bird Jr., her sister Betty Lane Bird Herndon, and by her husband Ed in 2006. Her memory is cherished by her four children, Wilka “Wiki” Carter (William), Edwin Thomas Mims Jr. (Gretchen), Michael Bird Mims, and John Lane Mims (Gypsy); her grandchildren Mitchell Carter, Matthew Mims, Bryan Mims (Sora), Shawn Mims (Jessie), Robiyn Mims (Eddie Morris), Randall Jackson, Mackenzi and Lane Mims; great-granddaughter Lea Mims; and sister-in-law Betty Ann Murrah.

Visitation will be held on June 10 at 3:00 p.m. followed by a memorial service at 4:00 p.m. at Culley’s MeadowWood Funeral Home on Riggins Rd. in Tallahassee. Interment will be held at Colquitt City Cemetery in Colquitt, GA, on June 11 at 11:00 a.m.

Memorial contributions may be made to Military Officers Assoc. of America (MOAA) Scholarship Fund, PO Box 1824, Merrifield, VA 22116-9917.


  • Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) Scholarship Fund


  • Visitation Monday, June 10, 2019
  • Funeral Service Monday, June 10, 2019
  • Committal Service Tuesday, June 11, 2019


Nellie Zemma Bird Mims

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