Nelson, June Billingham


June Billingham Nelson, teacher and administrator at the Renbrook School for 36 years, and docent at the Wadsworth Atheneum for 23 years, died at John Dempsey Hospital on August 23rd after a brief illness. She was born in New York City on June 7, 1918, and became a resident of Hartford at the age of 12. After graduating from Radcliffe College in 1940, and completing 60 hours of graduate study at Yale in 1941 and 1942, Mrs. Nelson taught for three years in Pennsylvania before beginning her career at Renbrook, then known as the Junior School, in 1945. In 1961, she spent a year teaching fourth grade boys at St. Paul’s Junior School in London, England. When she retired as head of the Lower School at Renbrook in 1981, the Lower School building was named in her honor. She married Arnold W. Nelson in 1973, and resided with him in Avon and Farmington until his death in 1998. Together, Mr. and Mrs. Nelson pursued many interests, including active involvement in the nuclear freeze movement of the 1980’s, which led them to travel to Russia as members of delegations seeking to improve understanding between the people of Russia and the United States. In 1981, after retirement from Renbrook, Mrs. Nelson trained to become a docent at the Wadsworth Atheneum, and worked in that capacity until her 86th year, in 2004. She particularly enjoyed leading groups of Hartford school children when they visited the Atheneum. She moved to the McAuley in West Hartford in 2000, and lived there until her death. She was a sponsoring member and attended concerts at the Hartford Symphony, and frequently traveled to New York City to view exhibits at the Metropolitan Museum of Art or attend theater performances. June Nelson was a long-time member of the Westminster Presbyterian Church in West Hartford, where she is remembered in part for her enthusiasm as a Sunday School teacher. She is survived by two step-sons and their spouses, Robert and Sandie Nelson of Rancho Palos Verdes, California and John and Ann Nelson of Montpelier, Vermont. She leaves five grandchildren and six great grandchildren. She is also survived by a nephew, John Billingham, of Dallas, Texas. In her later years, June considered Vermont to be her second home. She learned to cross-country ski in Putney, Vermont in the early 1970’s and she made extended visits to Montpelier, where she had many friends, on a regular basis for over 30 years. 

Calling Hours

Funeral Service

A memorial service will be held for Mrs. Nelson at Westminster Presbyterian Church on Saturday, September 26th at 1:00 in the afternoon.


Memorial Contribution

Donations in June Nelson's memory may be made to Earthwalk Vermont, P.O. Box 21, Plainfield, Vermont 05667

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