Just short of her 103rd birthday, Nell Oxford left this Life to rejoin her beloved Parents, Husband Chester and Son Jay. She was born on November 29, 1920, and led a Life full of love, joy and happiness.
She was a self-proclaimed ‘Georgia farm girl’, born to Mr.and Mrs.JB Thomason in their farmhouse near County Line, Ga. She was born so premature and tiny that the Doctor told her parents not to worry about giving her a name because, ‘She won’t make it through the night.’ Instead she lived well over 100 years. And in the end Nell survived all her younger siblings : brother Jehu and sisters Mabel and Mary.
Nell grew up helping her Dad raise vegetables on their farm. But at age 15 she lost her younger brother to meningitis. Her Dad never got over that tragedy, and decided the family would move to Atlanta. There Nell finished high school and met the love of her life, Chester. She walked into his Uncle’s diner where he worked one day, and said it was ‘love at first sight’. He always agreed.
Before their courtship could progress very far, Chester shipped off with the US Navy in 1939. He promised he would come home to marry her in a year. But he was stationed at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. She heard on the radio the horror that he endured that day, and didn’t know for several days whether he had survived. He did, but instead of coming home to marry her, in Feb.1942 Chester was assigned to a Navy Sub in the South Pacific for the next 2 years.
After being awarded a promotion to Chief Petty Officer in the USN Medical Corps at the age of 24, Ches was finally allowed to come home and marry Mom in February 1944. She always called it, ‘the happiest day of my life!’ Her Ches came back home from the War in 1945, and decided to make the Navy his career.
Nell loved being a Navy wife, moving to many different places when Dad was transferred. They started their family, with Carol born in 1946, Lamar in 1949, and Jay in 1950. Finally, after Ches was transferred from Pensacola to Sanford NAS in the mid-50s, Nell said, ‘Chester, these kids deserve to grow up in one place’.
She said that she decided on Sanford because as they drove over the
St.John’s River and saw the small City on the Lake glistening in the Sun, she thought it looked like paradise. And it was and has been ever since. Mom and Dad bought their first home in 1962 on Palmetto Avenue, and Mom stayed there for nearly 60 years—until after she turned age 100(!)
The 3 kids all flourished and loved growing up in Sanford. Neither Nell or Ches went to college, but they were so proud that their kids graduated from the University of Florida, Rollins College, and Princeton.
Nell Oxford lived a very long and very loving life—always giving and giving to her family. She endured terminal disease taking away her much-beloved Chester in 1981, then her son Jay—far too young in 2005. She is survived by her beloved daughter Carol Klavins and son-in-law Maris, and her son Lamar Oxford and his wife Rosalie Pezzi.
Nell is also survived by her loving Grandkids Chad Dudley and Amber Swanson, along with Amber’s husband Mark and daughters Abbey and Vivee. She is also survived by Grandson Andrew Oxford.
All of whom will always remember what an amazing and constantly loving Mom, Grandma, and Great-Grandma that Nellie was—and still is, in our hearts. She loved to laugh with the kids, play bingo and compete in gin rummy games and football pools. So many of the numerous friends of her children will always remember Ol’Nellie too. A private family burial will be held, but anyone who would like to honor Nell’s life and memory can donate in her name to the Make-a-Wish Foundation or St.Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The family is so grateful for all the love that Mom received.