Nelle G Tyrrell

March 1, 1922June 15, 2021

Nelle Tyrrell was born in Cleveland, Ohio, to Slovenian immigrant parents, Josephine Gerbec and Charles Grant (Wren in his native Slovenia) nearly 100 years ago. In Cleveland, Nelle warmly recalled playing in Euclid Riverside Park with her two sisters, Genevieve (Gene) and Esther. At the age of 11, Nelle’s parents divorced during the Great Depression, which was very rare at the time. Nelle chose to stay with her father Charles. In high school, Nelle was very popular, was the senior class secretary, and as her yearbook reads, “had the best legs in the class.” After high school, she left Ohio and followed her sister Gene down to Florida. It was outside a bar in Jacksonville, Florida, where Nelle met her first husband, a Navy officer, John Holbrook. Once they decided to start a family, they moved to Louisville, Kentucky, to be close to John’s family. Nelle and John had two children: Anne Wolff and McHenry (Mac) Holbrook. One of her proudest accomplishments was that she went to college, and she found a passion in education. She frequently related the story that when Anne and Mac went to elementary school, she decided it was time for her to go back to school too. John helped raise the kids while she took classes. Nelle went on to complete 30 hours beyond a master’s degree in education. She put her degrees to use by teaching elementary school in Louisville, where John was the principal. Nelle and John retired from teaching, and they decided to move to DeLand, Florida. Never one to sit still, it wasn’t long before she took a job as a “media specialist” at the elementary school. DeLand was Nelle’s true home in her heart, and where she will be buried alongside John and her second husband, Harold (Bud) K. Tyrrell. John passed away in 1985, and in time, Nelle fell in love with her neighbor and widower, Bud Tyrrell. Bud and Nelle got married in 1990, and they were always on the move. Bud and Nelle shared a passion for travel, and the two of them traveled around the world, often visiting six different countries in a year. They were fixtures in the YMCA, where Nelle served as a board member. When not traveling, they played host to Anne’s children (and Nelle’s grandchildren), Sarah Wolff and Shana Wolff. Sarah and Shana have many fond memories of playing in Nelle’s pool, surrounded by souvenirs of their travels and an entire exterior wall decorated in the style of aboriginal art that Bud had painted – inspired by their trip to Australia. Bud passed away in 2007, but Nelle still continued to travel and be an active volunteer in the DeLand community, volunteering at the Athens Theater, library, and Wisdom in Senior Education program (W.I.S.E) at Daytona State College. Nelle became a great-grandmother to Eleanor Noble in 2017, the daughter of Sarah Wolff and her husband Colton Noble. In 2018, she moved out to Tucson to be closer to her family. In Tucson, Nelle doted upon her great granddaughter, enjoyed exploring the town, and learning about her new home. Nelle remained closely connected to her sisters, Gene and Esther. It only seems fitting that all three should pass away within 6 months of each other. Gene DeLoach passed away December 2020, at the age of 104, and Esther Ewing passed away February 2021, at the age of 106.

Those who knew Nelle are reminded of two phrases that she often said and that perfectly capture her life. First, “that you only go around once.” Nelle was always up for an adventure and something new. She would never want to stay home when there was a theater show to see or a trip to be had. Second, “What a hoot!” Nelle had a spunk and fiery spirit that left a lasting impression. She was not a person to sit in the corner and be forgotten, she always demanded the attention in a room. She would never turn away from a challenge, and she had a stubborn spirit that kept her from ever giving up. While Nelle may be gone, she will not be forgotten. She was deeply loved by her friends, students, and family, and will be missed.


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Nelle G Tyrrell

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Sue Thurmond

June 22, 2021

Nell was a good friend, neighbor and cohort in education. She will be greatly missed. Much sympathy is extended in her passing. Sue Thurmond

Tina Giacona

June 17, 2021

Always loved being around her she loved working in her yard she was a wonderful woman