My mother: "I feel as if I have 100 years of talking with you and coming and going...Oh Jonatha I do love you. I want so awful much to be able to do what everyone is doing, but I have to go home. I'm so tired from having a good time."
Darren Stone Nelson died peacefully, with her family at her side, at home in New York City, on Tuesday, January 31. She was 80.
Born Nancy Lee Stone in Pittsburgh, Nelson was a poet and columnist, mother and grandmother; camper and musician; friend, dog lover and clown. She attended the Shipley School in Philadelphia, Principia College and Northwestern University, and began a career in journalism at the Christian Science Monitor in the early 1950s, where she met her husband, Robert Colby Nelson.
During the 1960s, while living in Chicago and Boston, she wrote the weekly Looking Homeward column for the Home Forum pages of the Monitor. Her topics focused on family life and childrearing—lessons and observations drawn from her three children—and cultivated a loyal, appreciative readership that followed her long after the column ended in 1970, after a ten-year run.
In the 1970s, she wrote a column for The Town Crier Newspaper when the family lived in Weston, Massachusetts.
In the 1980s, Nelson was an editorial consultant for the Christian Science Publishing Society in Boston. Long after her retirement, she continued to publish poems and articles for the religious periodicals. Poetry was her first love, and she eventually collected her work in three volumes: North of Now, Peaceable Kingdoms, and Always Home.
In the course of family and professional life, the Nelsons lived in Chicago, Boston, London, and Castine, Maine, and maintained deep friendships from each period and locale.
Nelson and her husband particularly loved Castine, having discovered the town during a weekend getaway in the 1980s. They owned a house on the town common, where generations of Nelsons visited for summers and eventually resided. She lived in Castine full-time from 2001 to 2009, delighting in family proximity and small town life, particularly daily trips to the post office. When she lived adjacent to the common, she adored watching the Adams School children at play, greeting trick-or-treaters at her door on Halloween, or visiting the Witherle Library as Stoney the Clown for children’s story time.
Nelson was predeceased by her husband, and is survived by her brother Jason C. Stone of Chatham, MA, and her three children and their spouses, Todd and Lesley Nelson, Derek Nelson and Emma Leslie, and Jonatha Brooke and Patrick Rains of Philadelphia, Cambridge, and New York City, respectively; and five grand children: Spencer, Hilary, Ariel, Callum and Imogen. Services will be private.