Howard F. Nelms

Howard F. Nelms

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CHARLESTON -- Dr. Howard F. Nelms, 91, of Charleston, Illinois passed away on Thursday, April 25, 2019 at his home in the presence of his loving family.

Funeral services honoring his life will be held on Monday, April 29, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 200 Charleston Avenue, Mattoon, Illinois 61938, with Reverend Adam Jacobsen officiating. Burial with Military Rites will follow at Roselawn Cemetery in Charleston, Illinois. Visitation will be from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Sunday, April 28, 2019, at Schilling Funeral Home, 1301 Charleston Avenue, Mattoon, Illinois 61938.

Howard was born on May 19, 1927 in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of I.B. and Olive (Morgan) Nelms. He married Doreen Jackson on March 31, 1961 in Vandalia, IL, and they have been blessed with 58 years of marriage.

He is survived by his loving wife Doreen, of Charleston, IL; daughters Kelley Sultan and husband, Marc, of Las Vegas, NV and Renee King and husband, Robert, of Charleston, IL; two granddaughters; Rachel Lauren Finney of Groveland, CA and Emily Anne Finney of Los Angeles, CA. He is also survived by three sisters, Shirley Hale of Bella Vista, AR, Sharon Fox of Mattoon, IL, Saundra Ellison of Omaha, NE, sister-in-law, Sylvia Nelms of Alamosa, CO, and beloved nieces and nephews. Besides his parents he was preceded in death by three brothers, Richard, Leland and Wayne, brothers-in-law; Dr. David Ellison, Mack Fox and sister-in-law, Jo Nelms.

Howard received his B.S. degree in education from EIU, his M.Ed. degree from the University of Illinois, and his Ed.D from the University of Northern Colorado. He taught in the Mattoon public schools and the Decatur Vocational Center. Howard taught college at East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA, and Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL, retiring from EIU after a total of 45 years of teaching.

Howard proudly and honorably served his country in the U.S. Navy during WWII, where he was on two different ships, the USS Vicksburg and the USS Astoria. His passion was flying, and he was part owner of a Cessna 182 for many years. He was a member of St. John’s Lutheran Church for more than 60 years, the EIU Annuitants Association, and EIU Adult Fitness. He was a past member of various organizations in the field of Industrial Arts and Technology, and national energy groups. Howard and close friend, Mick Morris, were co-owners of the Nelms and Morris Construction business where they built many houses and additions for family and friends. He also taught building trades at Mattoon High School and Stephen Decatur Vocational Center. He was also the Habitat Construction Supervisor in 1990. Howard was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather who was a well-respected gentleman with limitless patience, and will be dearly missed.

Memorials may be given to St. John’s Lutheran School or Lincoln Land Hospice. Online condolences may be expressed at or Schilling Funeral Home’s Facebook page.


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