James L.

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James Louis "Creeper" Nelson Jr., 84, of Newton, Miss., passed away Wednesday, March 6, 2019, at his home in Newton. He was born Monday, May 21, 1934, in Lawrence, Miss.
Visitation will be held Thursday, March 7, 2019, from 5-8 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Newton. Funeral services will be held Friday, March 8, 2019, at 10 a.m. at First Baptist Church of Newton. Burial will follow in the Newton Masonic Cemetery. Bro Randy Cuchens and Dr. Brian Rushing will officiate. Newton County Funeral Home-South is in charge of arrangements.
Creeper was a 1952 graduate of Newton High School. He then went on to attend East Central Junior College and Delta State University where he was a two-sport athlete in football and baseball playing quarterback in football and pitcher/catcher in baseball. At Delta State he received his bachelor's degree in mathematics and physical education. He later went on to obtain a master's degree in school administration from the University of Southern Mississippi.
Nelson began his coaching/teaching career at Newton High School in football, basketball, and baseball in 1956. He led the Tiger football team in 1963 to its first Choctaw Conference Championship. He was twice chosen Coach of the Year in baseball and once in football. From 1971-1975 he served as coach and principal at Newton. After serving as principal, he was appointed Superintendent of Newton Public Schools in 1986 and held this position until his retirement in June 1998.
In addition to his work as teacher/coach and school administrator, he served on the Legislative Council of the Mississippi High School Activities Association and the East Central Mississippi Association of School Superintendents. He was a member and former president of the Newton Chamber of Commerce, Newton Lions Club, and Newton Country Club. He was a high school/small college basketball official for 20 years. He was a member of First Baptist Church in Newton.
The highlight of his career was getting to serve as superintendent of the school district he loved because to him that was the ultimate job situation.
He was preceded in death by parents, James L. and Hermione Nelson; sister, Lexie Waldrop.
Survivors include his wife of 59 years, Mary Beth Nelson; sons, Joel Nelson (Vicki) and Steve Nelson (Angie); daughter, Anne Marie Massingill (Dr. Scott); sister, Dianne Nelson; six grandchildren, Dr. Kurt Nelson (Emily), Melanie Thomas (Brandon), April Mabry ( Dr. Taylor), Allen Massingill (Alex), Kaytee Nelson, and Daulton Nelson; four great-grandchildren, Chip Nelson, Ellie Frances Nelson, Hallie Thomas, and Olivia Massingill; two nieces, Cathy Doyle (Alan) and Jane Williamson (Wayne).
Pallbearers will be Rusty McMillan, Bryan Burt, Arthur McMillan, Butch Newman, Jay Powell, Jeff Bounds, Robert Munn, and Tommy Harthcock Jr.
Honorary pallbearers will be Yokefellows Sunday School Class, Newton County Senior Men's Golf Association, Bob Douglas, James W. Chapman, Don Cooper, Ron Crawford, Jerry Flake, Max Sessums, Larry Mann, D. D. Wash, Ray Gibson Jr., Bobby Easom, Ed Eichelberger, Pat Liggett, and Vic Chaney.
An online guestbook may be signed at www.newtoncountyfuneralhome.com.
Published on March 6, 2019
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1 posts

Billy Barnett, Class of ‘68
Mar 07, 2019
To Mary Beth, Joel, Steve, Anne Marie, and the extended family, I offer my deepest sympathy. There is something special about a relationship between a coach and his players. If you played football or baseball at Newton High in the 50’s, 60’s, or 70’s, you’ve probably got great memories from those days, and chances are high that many of them involve Coach Creeper..To you, he was family. To all of us, he will always be “Coach”.