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Joe's Story

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Joe Nelle (Andrews) Jones, 86, of Ben Wheeler went to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Feb. 17, 2017 after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. She was born in Roane, June 22, 1930 to Gladys and Joe Andrews, Joe Nelle was the first of three children. Later would come her sister Billye and brother William.
In 1954, Joe Nelle married Robert Lee Jones, a graduate of Texas A&M and member of the ROTC Class of 1952. He served many years in the Army and Air Force, before working as an independent sales representative. For the first several years of their marriage in the late 1950's, they lived in Dallas. Here they welcomed their three children Clyde, Mike and Tom. They soon moved to Houston, where they would spend most of their lives together. In 1994, they moved to Ben Wheeler. Meanwhile, she continued to work, commuting between their homes in the country and Houston, before finally retiring from the Eddie Croix Insurance Agency at the age of 65. Robert Lee passed away in 2002.
Early in life, Joe Nelle was saved at Roane Baptist, later joining Southern Oaks Baptist Church, in Tyler, by letter in 2011.
Through hard work and determination, Joe Nelle pursued a long, successful career in insurance, holding numerous leadership positions and certifications. Notably, she broke the glass ceiling at Insurance Company of North America in the late 1960's, becoming their first woman administrator. Shortly after her retirement from insurance and move to the country, she became interested in computers and started taking courses at Tyler Junior College. She secured a part time position in the computer lab at UT Tyler, working with and helping students. The college valued her dependability and flexible schedule, while she enjoyed the work, which she felt kept her young.
Joe Nelle loved her grandchildren, which she expressed through many profound acts of love. Notably, when her first grandchild Lucy Allyn was born, Joe Nelle left the cigarettes which she had smoked all her life on a counter and walked away, never to smoke again.
For leisure, Joe Nelle liked going to the dog races and playing slots with her husband, Robert Lee, and brother-in-law, Carter Pierce. She loved shopping at Neiman Marcus and Talbots, always on the lookout for a good sale. Before meeting Joe Nelle, Jennifer only knew J. C. Penney's and Sears, stores available in Lufkin. But Joe Nelle soon expanded Jennifer's knowledge, and that genie has yet to get back in the bottle. Passionate about collecting, she frequented First Monday Trade Days in Canton and the Blue Bird shop in Houston. She passed this love for antiques on to her grandson Thomas, who would accompany Joe Nelle on many searching expeditions.
She was always hospitable and generous. A thoughtful gift giver, Joe Nelle demonstrated her generosity by never hurrying to give just anything, but always considering what would be perfect for the recipient. She showed the same thoughtfulness in wrapping those gifts, using skills learned in her youth at Dyers in Corsicana, in the gift wrap department. A voracious reader and seasoned traveler, she also loved to cook. The resourcefulness shown in other areas of her life was easily and frequently extended to the kitchen, where she could always be relied on to make something special with whatever was on hand. Joe Nelle and Billye used to make the best turkey and dressing any had ever had. Hopefully Billye's daughter Becky has retained the recipe! It was special.
Never judgmental, Joe Nelle would listen and if asked a specific question, would answer, but never told anyone what to do. She expected in kind treatment from others. Joe Nelle was undeniably tough, fiercely independent, and steadfastly loyal to her family.
It is said that sons marry women like their mothers. I think there is some truth to that. I love my wife, but people keep saying they are praying for me. Life was never boring when I was coming up, and since being married it has continued to be an adventure. Though different in many ways, my wife and mom have both been strong willed, caring, and lots of fun. I encourage a Joe Nelle in your life - just be sure not to make her mad.
We wish to express sincere gratitude to Joe Nelle's caregivers at Riverview Health and Rehab in Detroit and especially her hospice nurse, Monica, for their dedication to keeping Joe Nelle as comfortable as the progression of her disease would allow. They were all so kind and enjoyed Joe Nelle and the stories from her life as much as those who had known her previously.
Joe Nelle is survived by her three children, six grandchildren, and three great grandchildren. They are Lowell Clyde of Katy, Michael Van and wife Jennifer of Tyler with Joe Nelle's grandchildren Lucy of Frisco and Sarah and Steven of Tyler, and Thomas Bailey and his wife Helene of Virginia with Joe Nelle's grandchildren Jackie and her husband Jim and daughters Jasmine, Janelle, and Joslyn, of Indiana, Thomas of Wisconsin and Hannah of Virginia. Joe Nelle is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family, and friends.
A time of visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24, 2017 in the Corley Funeral Home. A graveside service will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb 25, 2017 at Prairie Point Cemetery in Kerens with Bro. Larry Melhart officiating.
Honorary pallbearers are Thomas Jones, Steven Jones, Randy Croix, Tom Hall, Daron Hance and Damon Hance.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation in Joe Nelle's name to the Alzheimer's Alliance of Northeast Texas, Inc., 211 Winchester Dr., Tyler, TX 75701-8847.
Published on February 22, 2017
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