We Remember

"Up, up the long delirious burning blue; I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.

Where never lark, or even eagle flew; And while with silent, lifting mind I've trod

The high, untrespassed sanctity of space; Put out my hand, and touched the face of God."


Man of Avon: Joseph Nelson

Joseph “Joe” Nelson, 56, of Portsmouth NH, died at his house in Shapleigh, Maine on Thursday, April 22nd, 2021.

Joe was born and raised in Owings Mills, MD, a suburb of Baltimore, the son of John and Suzette Nelson.

When his mother Suzette relocated to New York City, Joe attended Avon Old Farms boarding school in Avon, CT, where he was active on the wrestling, football and lacrosse teams. He moved to New Hampshire to attend UNH, where he received his BS at the University of New Hampshire, Whittemore School of Business and Economics. As a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE), he met many lifelong friends. Joe loved New Hampshire and decided to build his life here in New England.

In 1997, he founded Nelson Real Estate, Inc. which he ran for 14 years until 2011 when he joined The Bean Group as an Associate Broker. Joe became known as the “Multi-Family Man” and although he was modest about his real estate success, Joe was one of the top selling multi-unit realtors in the Seacoast throughout his career.

He took a lot of pride in his building on Maplewood Avenue, a property that he had owned for decades. It was originally one of his listings, but when it didn’t sell, he bought it himself. It was very run down when he purchased it and over the years, he renovated it to the point that it was almost unrecognizable.

Though Joe loved his career in real estate, his greatest joys were his daughters, Jillian and Alexa. He loved attending Soap Box derby races with both of the girls, as well as their sporting events such as cheerleading, gymnastics, field hockey and horseback riding. Visiting “the shore”, Ocean City, NJ always had a special place in his heart. Ocean City was a place he enjoyed with his grandparents and aunt Bee as a child and he was so thankful that he could continue to visit Aunt Bee there and share those experiences with family.

Joe had many hobbies though he especially enjoyed sports, both in school (lacrosse and rugby being his favorites) and later in life, as well as the occasional golfing range trips on the weekends with his daughters. Sports and the subsequent get-togethers and celebrations were some of the ways he loved to connect with friends. He also loved watching his kids and extended family compete in all kinds of sporting events and activities. Joe played on the “Old Man” lacrosse team and loved his days on the ice with his neighbor Wayne and the boot hockey leagues.

Being on the Seacoast and near the water was something Joe appreciated. He loved eating breakfast at Southend Yacht Club and enjoying the view of Round and Pierce Islands, paddleboarding from Esther’s Marina, going out on his boat with friends on Little Harbor, birdwatching bald eagles that nest near Wentworth by the Sea, fishing, and swimming in the salt water.

In 2017, Joe purchased land in Shapleigh, Maine that made him feel like he was “a kid again”. Joe loved renovating his pond house and Alexa especially loved helping with the finishing touches. He cherished the memories of all friends and family, especially his daughters visiting, enjoying drinks by the fire, hitting golf balls, fishing for trout in the pond, cooking, 4-wheeling, observing wildlife, smoking the occasional cigar, walking on nature trails nearby, and listening to country music.

Joe is survived by his children, Jillian and Alexa Nelson of Dover, NH, and his brother John Nelson (Michelle) and family of Toronto ON, his step-brother Jim Angelus (Birgess) and family of San Francisco, CA, step-brother Ted Angelus and family of NY, NY and his aunt Annette Torrey and family of Alexandria, VA. Joe was predeceased by his mother, Suzette; father, John; step-father, Ted Angelus and aunt, Elizabeth “Bee” Nelson.

Services: A celebration of Joe’s life will be held on Saturday, May 8th from 1 – 3PM at the J Verne Wood Funeral Home – Buckminster Chapel, 84 Broad St, Portsmouth. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make donations to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention or the American Cancer Society. For online condolences and to view the extended obituary, visit: Arrangements are under the direction and care of the J. Verne Wood Funeral Home – Buckminster Chapel.

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