Obituary for Charlene Nelson
Charlene “Billie” Mae Nelson, born January 7, 1931, passed away peacefully in her home on May11, 2017. Raised in Leesburg, Billie graduated from Florida State University and Virginia Common Wealth University with her degree in Physical Therapy. Her passions took her on a long and successful career with the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill; while there she completed her Master's Degree at Duke University. Billie immediately became a pivotal force in the field of Physical Therapy by initiating the development of the specialization of using electrotherapy and electro diagnostic by Physical Therapists. She helped create the Specialty Council of Clinical electro physiologic Physical Therapy and served as Chair for the PT/PT Advocates Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals for Physical Therapists where she successfully lobbied for legislative approval preform electro diagnostic procedures without physician supervision. In 1981 Billie received her certification as an Electro physiologic Clinical Specialist (ESC). She was always one for travel and adventure and loved hiking, fishing, and farming; she especially loved golfing and her dog Kiddo.
Her many honors include: 1981: APTA’s Lucy Blair Service Award; In 1997 she was selected to deliver the North Carolina’s Physical Therapy Associations Founders Lecture; and in 2012 she received the highest and most prestigious honor of becoming a Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the APTA.
In 2016 both Billie Nelson and her esteemed colleague and life-long friend Dr. Ruth Mitchell were honored for their pioneering contributions with a celebration of UNC’s new Physical Therapy Suite, where a plaque now hangs as tribute of their enduring contributions.
She is preceded in death by her parents Merle E. Nelson and Florence Ruth Fuldheim Solcum, sister Patricia Jean Brown (David E. Brown); and nephew David M. Brown; she is survived by several cousins, nieces, grandnieces and nephews.
“Take her in Thine arms dear Lord and ever let her be a messenger of love between our hearts and Thee.”
Visitation will be held at Beyers Funeral Home located at 1123 W Main Street, Leesburg Florida on Thursday, May 25th from 5 to 7 PM; In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her name to the University of North Carolina’s Chapel Hill Division of Physical Therapy
Funeral Services will held at Beyers Funeral Home on Friday at 11 am with procession to Lone Oak Cemetery; A reception will follow at Fruitland Park at the Berckman House located at 302 W Berckman St.; will open doors at 9:30 for anyone wishing to bring food items prior to services.