The Odessa Record -

Meet your neighbors

Tom and Dolores Nelson


The sunshine says warmth but if you step outside you will find that it is still on the cool side. My daffodils are about four inches tall, so they are ready for spring. I guess we will just have to wait a little longer.

In the meantime, let me introduce you to Tommie and Dolores Nelson. Tommie was born in January of 1947 and grew up on a farm with his parents, six sisters and seven brothers, Tommie being the oldest. They had a garden and raised animals, and his father worked in the coal mines. At the age of eight he went to work for his uncle in the tobacco fields. When he was 16, he left home and went to work as a machinist, continuing in that trade for seven years.

Tommie and Dolores met in Cleveland in 1968 and married in 1969. Dolores has three children from a previous marriage: Christopher, Kimberly and Michael, who all live in Dallas Texas. Together, Tommi and Dolores have a son, Dan Nelson, who lives here in Odessa and owns and operates Nelson Construction. Tom and Dolores have 19 grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

The couple moved their family to West Virginia in 1970. In 1971, Tommie joined the army, and they moved to San Antonio, Texas. After two years there, he was stationed in Hawaii for two years. Dolores moved to Albuquerque, N.M. with the children, while he finished his term of service in 1975 and retired from the military. He worked as a medic and built a dispensary while in Hawaii. After the service, they moved to Texas, where he took up welding and helped build bridges. He worked for a granite company for five years. About 16 years ago, they moved to Tonasket, Wash., where they lived for eight years. Their son Dan was living in Odessa by then, so they also moved here eight years ago. Tommie says he is a jack of all trades and has helped his son on various jobs. He has also been a fisherman on a tuna boat.

Dolores was born in January of 1940 in Cleveland Ohio. She has two sisters, Dolores being the oldest, and two brothers who have passed on. She graduated from John Adams High School in Cleveland in 1957. Later on in her life, she attended Wenatchee Valley College in Omak, graduating in 2010 with an associate degree in arts and sciences. She went to Big Bend Community College for one year at the same time her son Dan and granddaughter Morgan were attending. She said it was the first time there had been three generations attending the school at the same time.

Dolores joined AmeriCorps for two years at the age of 63. [Editor's note: AmeriCorps is a voluntary civil society program supported by the U.S. federal government, foundations, corporations, and other donors engaging adults in public service work with a goal of "helping others and meeting critical needs in the community," as described in Wikipedia.] She also worked at a school in Tonasket as a teachers' aide. She is the American president of the Greater Northwest Phi Theta Kappa alumni chapter covering five states and Canada.

In Odessa, she belongs to the quilt guild and volunteers for many of the group's events put on throughout the year. Dolores also belongs to TOPS [Take Off Pounds Sensibly] and the PrimeTimers group.

Tommie and Dolores are nice and interesting people, and it was my pleasure to listen to their stories and get more acquainted with them. They stop in for senior meals now and then, so that is a good place to meet them.

Everyone has a story and if you would like to share yours, let me know.

Until next time. Enjoy life!


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