Lemley Chapel
Serving Sedro-Woolley &
All of Skagit County Since 1935
1008 Third Street
Sedro-Woolley, WA
Ann Elizabeth Nelson Memorial
Ann Elizabeth Nelson Memorial

Ann Elizabeth Nelson

Ann Elizabeth Nelson

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Ann Elizabeth Nelson, age 91, passed away Tuesday, May 8, 2012, culminating a life filled with hard work, adventure, and, most importantly, family. She was born July 28, 1920 in Sedro-Woolley, Washington to Avery and Etta (Robinson) Stiles.
Ann grew up in the Skagit Valley, playing catcher on the softball team before graduating from Sedro-Woolley High School in 1938. She married Frank Gee just before the beginning of World War II. During that time, when many of the men were serving in the war, she worked in the logging industry as a whistle punk, sounding the steam whistle to communicate about logging activities. Frank preceded her in death in 1943.
On November 26, 1947, Ann married Stanley Nelson Jr., owner of Nelson Chevrolet in Sedro-Woolley. In 1951 they, together, built the home that would become the center for family gatherings. Then called the Nelson Hereford Ranch, and now called Foothills Farm, over the years they raised cattle, riding horses, racehorses, Ann’s flourishing vegetable garden, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Ann left her mark on many things, but especially the Annual 4th of July celebration and the heirloom tarheel beans cultivated from seeds given to her by her mother from Sylva, NC.
In 1958, Stan and Ann moved their family to Seattle to run Nelson Chevrolet in Ballard when Stan Nelson Sr. retired.. The Nelson Family is one of the oldest and largest automotive families in the Northwest. As the matriarch, she promoted that all her children grow and maintain the family businesses. With her support and guidance, all 4 children have owned and operate automobile dealerships today. She was especially adamant that her daughters take leadership roles alongside her husband and son. Currently her daughters own and operate Acura of Bellevue and Foothills Toyota Scion in Burlington. She always talked about the business and her wisdom and vision helped guide the family businesses through the challenging economic times of the past few years. She was featured in The Puget Sound Dealer Magazine in the Fall of 2007 as “a Matriarch of the Auto Industry, with the quote “You can do anything you want. Never give up.””
The family continued to split their time, spending weekends and summers at the farm, and building a strong presence in the Seattle community. Ann was a great Husky and Mariner fan, longtime supporter of the Seattle Milk Fund, and member of the Puget Sound Syndicate Investment Club and the Washington Athletic Club.
Throughout her life, Ann maintained a sense of adventure, always trying new things and improving on what had come before. She holds the record for the largest deer killed by a woman in Sedro-Woolley and she once bowled a 299 game. Ann loved horses and even rode one on her 90th birthday. She was always full of advice for her children and grandchildren, and encouraged them both personally and professionally. Her home and her kitchen were always warm and welcoming, full of good food, cheer and love. She was a wonderful model of beauty and strength. Her amazing smile and kind heart will never be forgotten.
She is survived by four children; Stanley Nelson III and wife Robin of Seattle, Barbara Nelson and husband James Bradshaw of Seattle, Fredricka Nelson Bolinger and husband Charlie of Woodinville, and Pamela Nelson and husband Tom Strotkamp of Sedro-Woolley. Eleven grandchildren; Ann-Margaret Nelson Johnson, Stanley Nelson IV, Hilaree Nelson O’Neill, Robert Sesnon, Nelson Haldane, David Bolinger, Liz King, Ericka Sisolak, Charlie Bolinger, and Matt & Tyler Steinman and seven great-grandchildren. Her brother, William Stiles and wife Betty of Sedro-Woolley, sister, Faye Jenson of Salem, OR, and sister-in-law, Bliss Nelson Miller of Bellevue and numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Stanley Jr., brother Louie Stiles, and two sisters, Helen Berg and Mabel Cline.
The family would like to extend a special thank you for the care given to Ann by Dr. Werner Samson, Sherry Turner, and the medical staff at the University of Washington Medical Center. A Celebration of Life will be held Thursday, May 17, 2012 at 2:00PM at Foothills Farm on 25292 Hoehn Rd in Sedro-Woolley. Memorials are suggested to Sedro-Woolley High School Alumni Association, Seattle Milk Fund 1130 N Northgate Way Seattle, WA 98133 or Seattle Children’s M/S S200 PO Box 5371Seattle, WA 98145=5005. Arrangements and Services under the care of Lemley Chapel, Sedro-Woolley.


  • George Badalian

    Pam, I am so sorry for loss of your mother, Ann and your father will always remain in my best memories, I will never forget her beautiful smile when your dad and Ann used to stop and pick me up for lunch during my days at Nelson Chevrolet. The best part, your mom is with your dad now and I know how much they loved each other, and they truly enjoyed being together.
    I will never forget Stan Nelson Jr. and your mom.

    With Love,

    George and Joan Badalian

  • Fred Thomas

    Pam I am so sorry to here about your mother. I often think back to the summers at the farm and how much I truely loved her. She was one of the kindest people I have ever had in my life.

    Freddie Thomas

  • Robbin, Rocky Pence

    Pam sorry to here about your Mom she was a great person .We had a lot of great times with her and your Dad They will be in are hearts and thoughts always….


    We had just learned this date that Ann Nelson passed away. I was looking for an address to send her a birthday card for the 28th of July. I had not seen her for a few months and was also wanting to explain my leaving Foothills Auto Center as I respected her very much. My husband and I both enjoyed our visits with her at the Xmas Parties, she was such a joy and so full of life, we just felt fortunate to be able to spend that time with her. We are so sorry for your loss Pam, Matt and Tyler. She was so proud of all you as you were of her. A gracious remarkable woman. Take care all of you.


    I had just learned today tha Ann Nelson had passed away -I was looking up her address to send a Birthday Card for the 28th of July and inform her regarding my leaving Foothills Auto Center,, as it meant a lot to me to have her respect as she was truly one of a kind and I missed her visits as well as miss being employed at Foothills My husband and I both felt so at ease with her and enjoyed our conversations . She was truly a remarkable woman who made you feel so comfortable. We are so upset that she is no longer with us and I am so sorry for your loss Pam, Matt , Tyler and family.. I know she meant a lot to all of you and you all felt the same for her.

  • Phil Queen

    Sorry , Pam about the loss of your Mother. I never knew her personlly, but apparently she possessed a lot of integrity. As a distance admirer of you ,years ago, I now see where you got your fine qualities. Again all my sympathies to you.

  • martin kiely

    I knew very little of Ann, however, after reading of the ladies life and family, very easy to see where the class and kindness of Pam sprun from. Sorry for your loss Pam, as I stumble through life my memories of you help redirect me more times than you will ever know. Sorry for your loss.

  • Larry and Mary Shew

    We are so sorry to hear of Ann’s passing. What a beautiful, exciting, friendly and happy woman Ann was. She was so fun to be around, her personality was so sincere and fun. SHe never acted her age!! She spoke her mind, which was so refreshing! We will always remember Ann Nelson and it was an honor to know her! Larry and Mary

  • Don Mills, Seafair Prime Minister XXXX, 1990

    To the entire Nelson family,
    Please accept my sympathies in the passing of your mother. We are sorry we couldn’t attend her Celebration of Life at Foothills Farm.
    Her birthday and mine were a day apart (7/27 and 7/28) and we always exchanged ‘happy birthdays’.
    One year she gave me a beautiful red-white-blue patriotic tie for my birthday for which I have received many compliments. It gives me great pleasure to tell the well-wisher Ann Nelson gave it to me.
    Ann was such a beautiful lady and was always so kind to my wife, Doreen, and me. We are blessed to have known her.
    Donald R. Mills

  • Cecil Thomas

    Many years ago Ann was our next door neighbor in Sedro-Woolley and was the best baby sitter I ever had. In more recent years I visited several times with Ann at the annual alumni picnic and we reminisced
    about the “good old days.” What a great lady.

  • Tim Lewis

    Pam. Sorry for you loss. It was an honor to have known your mother. Ronaye and I will always cherish the time we interacted with her. Be Strong.


    Tim & Ronaye

  • Tim Lewis

    Pam, sorry for your loss. I know how close you were to your mother. Ronaye and I are honored to have known your mother and will always cherish are interactions with her. Be strong.


    Tim & Ronaye

  • Jeri Hubbard

    I am sorry for your loss Pam. Mothers are special and it sounds like yours was indeed special..

  • Bobbie Leber

    Ann always called me Bobbie. She was such a huge part of my life and one who I both loved and respected greatly, and along with her Family and Friends , will miss her.

  • Merle Davis

    Quite a woman, she had a lot of great influence on everyone that was involved in her life. She cared so much of those around her. I know this is not the place but I must tell about an incident that happened 68 years ago that still sticks in my memory. Ann told me that I had a bee on the seat of my pants. When I bent over to see, it stung me. She told me to drop my drawers so she could get the stinger out. I did, but it was sooo embarassing for an 11 year old boy. {Sorry about my poor taste)