Date of Birth
Date of Death
Elaine C. Nelson, age 68, of Elburn, completed her healing journey on Monday, November 19, 2018. She is now completely healed and in the presence of Jesus. Throughout this journey, because Jesus was with us, we were always able to smile at the storm. (Matthew 8:23-27)
Elaine was born in Red Bud, IL, on November 6, 1950, to proud parents Chris and Pota (Horemiotes) Kamas.
Elaineâ€™s father passed away when she was six years old; her mother then remarried Peter Cheris, who helped raise Elaine and adopted her. Peterâ€™s role in Elaineâ€™s life was key to the education she would pursue in the future.
When Elaine was 10, the family took a three-month trip to Greece by boat to visit relatives. This trip greatly influenced her deep love of language and travel, and by 8th-grade she knew she wanted to be a Spanish teacher.
In 1968, Elaine graduated from Portage High School. After her junior year in high school, Elaine was chosen to study Spanish in an exclusive program in Monterey, Mexico. It was one of her first experiences immersing herself in learning the language.
Elaine attended Purdue University and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish and graduated in 1972. During her junior year at Purdue, Elaine studied in Madrid, Spain where she took a special course at the Prado Museum. This course greatly influenced the curriculum she would develop for future students.
After Elaine graduated from Purdue, she had the opportunity to take a teaching position immediately in Chesteron, IN. While an exciting opportunity, the good Lord instead guided her to enroll at Indiana University to pursue her Masterâ€™s degree in Spanish for teachers.
Early on in her time at Indiana University, Elaine met the love of her life – Dwayne Nelson. Dwayne was also enrolled as a student in the same Spanish department.
Elaine and Dwayne were married on May 26, 1974, which just so happened to be the 29th wedding anniversary of Dwayneâ€™s parents. This would also become the wedding anniversary of their future daughter and son-in-law. There are over 100 years of marriage between these three generations, a testament to the importance of love and commitment the Nelsons shared.
Dwayne was assigned to the Panama Canal Zone for his military duty with the U.S. Army in 1975. Elaine began her teaching career by teaching English as a second language to Panamanians. During their time in Panama, the newly-married couple traveled throughout South America.
After Dwayneâ€™s military duty was completed, Elaine was offered a job at Dundee-Crown High School where she taught Spanish for two years. In 1980, she was offered a job at Kaneland High School where she taught for 28 years.
SeÃ±ora Nelson never deprived students of an academic challenge. Not only did she teach the Spanish language, she also taught language as a total cultural experience because of her travels and interest in art. In addition to teaching Spanish art, culture and literature, she also took students to Spain several times to further enhance their Spanish learning experience.
Elaine was the foreign-language department head at Kaneland for many years and also advised National Honor Society.
She was well-respected by her teaching colleagues and administrative staff because of her focus on students, integrity in teaching, and her willingness to support other teachersâ€™ work with students. In 1993, Elaine was named Teacher of the Year, which was a great honor for her. Teaching was more than a job or profession; teaching was the passion that she carried with her throughout her life.
Sharing her love, knowledge, and expertise of the Spanish language and culture with her students was what brought Elaine the most joy. To be able to encourage the young people she touched to open their eyes beyond Kaneland High School was central to her teaching philosophy and personal commitment to students.
After her retirement in 2008, she continued to share her love of teaching by privately tutoring students.
The impact of her career is immeasurable. Her teaching influenced many of her students to become teachers themselves, study Spanish, or pursue world travels. For Elaine, this was the ultimate compliment and professional satisfaction. Elaine was blessed with many significant moments and relationships throughout her life.
Elaine and Dwayne first took up residence in Cortland, IL. Second only to her wedding day, her two most joy-filled days were when Matthew was born in 1983 and Stephanie in 1986. With a growing family, Elaine and Dwayne chose to build their dream home in Elburn in 1989.
Elaine and Dwayne shared their love of traveling with their children. They took countless family vacations, both in the United States and internationally including several trips to Mexico and an exciting trip to Spain. This trip to Spain was one of her favorites because she was able to show off to her family her lifeâ€™s passion and some of her special travel memories.
Elaine and Dwayne were delighted to invite into the Nelson family Shari Wenz, who married Matt in 2006, and Wesley Musgrove, who married Stephanie in 2011.
In 2009, Elaine and Dwayne became grandparents with the birth of Ava, daughter of Matt and Shari. Two years later, her twin sister and brother, Katherine and Andrew, were born.
Elaine and Dwayne as a couple loved to travel. They visited Spain several times, traveled to Greece three times to visit family and sightsee, and visited Southern France. Elaine and Dwayne also enjoyed taking occasional weekend trips to Las Vegas to enjoy the sun and fun; Buffalo was her favorite game. Elaine and Dwayne took frequent trips to Minneapolis to visit their daughter and son-in-law. Elaine also enjoyed visiting friends in California and Colorado.
Elaine was best known for her energy, gusto and zest for life, go-for-it attitude, and endless compassion. Elaine is survived by the love of her life, Dwayne, her loving husband of 44 years; her two children: Matthew (Shari) Nelson and Stephanie (Wesley) Musgrove; three grandchildren: Ava, Katherine, and Andrew Nelson; two siblings: Betty Ganousis and Peter (Evelyn) Kamas; many nieces and nephews, and a school of friends and former students. Elaine is preceded in death by her parents and her half-brothers and half-sister. Visitation will be on Friday, November 23, 2018, from 6-9pm at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn, IL 60119. A funeral service to celebrate her life and faith in Jesus will be held Saturday, November 24, at 10:30 am, at St. George Greek Orthodox Church, 320 S 2nd St., DeKalb, IL 60115. A burial service will follow at Blackberry Township Cemetery, Elburn. In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in Elaineâ€™s name. Checks may be made to the “Elaine Nelson Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address, the Conley Funeral Home Facebook Page, or at www.conleycare.com.
A funeral service to celebrate her life and faith in Jesus will be held Saturday, November 24, at 10:30 am, at St. George Greek Orthodox Church, 320 S 2nd St., DeKalb, IL 60115
Visitation will be on Friday, November 23, 2018, from 6-9pm at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn, IL 60119. Visitation will resume from 10-10:30 am Saturday, November 24, at St. George Greek Orthodox Church.
A burial service will follow at Blackberry Township Cemetery, Elburn.