ROWLEY — Sela A. (Condo) Nelson, 71, of Rowley, passed away after a long battle with cancer on Friday morning, December 27, at the Kaplan Family Hospice House in Danvers, with family by her side.
Sela was born on April 7, 1942, in Cleveland, Ohio, to her late parents Fred and Elizabeth (Parker) Condo. She was the wife of Gordon “Gene” Nelson of Rowley. They were happily married for 47 years. In the course of their marriage, they lived in New Haven, Conn., Brookline, Mass., Apex, N.C., West Newbury, Mass., Lebanon, N.J., and Rowley, Mass. Sela was an active church member in all of these communities. At her death, she was a member of the United Methodist Church of Ipswich. She was a Methodist lay speaker, was her church’s financial secretary, and was active in the United Methodist Walk to Emmaus organization.
Sela earned her Bachelor of Arts in German at Bryn Mawr College and her master's and doctorate degrees in medieval German literature at Yale University. Sela was a gifted teacher, teaching German and other subjects at institutions that included Simmons College, Essex Christian Academy, Pope John XXIII Diocesan High School in Sparta, N.J., and Haverhill High School.
After retiring from Haverhill High, she taught English in Guatemala for Partners in Developmen, an Ipswich-based organization that does community development in Haiti and Guatemala. As a volunteer in PID’s Ipswich office, Sela managed PID’s child sponsorship program and developed and managed PID’s higher education program.
Other talents and interests included cooking, flower arranging and photography. In Apex, she taught cooking and cooked the weekly Wednesday night suppers at the Apex Baptist Church. She introduced the church’s members her “Yankee” specialties, while adding Southern specialties to her repertoire.
In addition to her husband, Gene, she is survived by a son, Harold (Fritz) and his wife, Elisabeth Nelson of Malverne, N.Y.; and a daughter, Rebecca L. and her husband, David Brown of Kingston, R.I. She also leaves a sister, Lois and her husband, Gene Oster of California; and two grandchildren, Eric Nelson of Malverne and Sophia Brown of Kingston.