Cover photo for Nellie Sullivan Watson's Obituary
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1930 Nellie 2021

Nellie Sullivan Watson

December 15, 1930 — March 6, 2021

RALEIGH- Mrs. Nellie Etta Sullivan Watson, 90, passed away on Saturday, March 6, 2021.

Mrs. Watson was born on December 15, 1930 to Joseph Henry and Annie Boykin Sullivan in Wilson County, NC.

Mrs. Watson was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Luther “Luke” Watson; step-son, George “Pete” Watson; brothers, John Kelly and L.D. “Bill” Kelly; her Watson brothers-in-law and Watson sisters-in-law; and son in law, Don Nelson.

Mrs. Watson grew up in Wilson County and moved to Durham after high school graduation. In Durham, she met the love of her life, Luther Watson, and was married for 58 years prior to his death in 2008. She was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother. She was a gifted gardener with a vast knowledge of flowers. She was a gifted cook, making the best fudge and perfect divinity (only when the weather was just right). Her greatest gift was her ability to welcome family and friends into her home. Her back door was always open. It made her day when her nephews and nieces she had not seen in a while popped in.

Mrs. Watson is survived by her daughters, Denise Watson Vreeland (Van) of Raleigh, NC and Terri Watson Nelson of Holmes Beach, FL; grandchildren, Chris Watson (Nichole), Jamin Watson (Mandy), Valerie Vreeland, Vanessa Link, Lars Nelson (Aubrey), William Watson (Jessica), Lila Daniel (Tyler), and Vaughn Vreeland; great-grandchildren, Ashlynn Watson, Kamdyn Link, Easton Link, Maddox Link, Henry Nelson, Noah Nelson, Ava Watson, Jaxson George, Aurora Watson, Stella Daniel, Sadler Daniel, and Ryder Watson.; daughter-in-law, Jennifer Conklin; sisters-in-law, Dot Watson, Mary Watson, Teresa Watson, and Tiney Watson and many nieces and nephews who were precious to her. And her beloved poodle, Louie.

She is also survived by her care givers: Elizabeth Avelar, Alisa Clemons, Alfreeda Carr, and Nahid Jafarikouhini.

The family would like to thank the physicians, nurses, nursing assistants, and other staff of Duke Raleigh for their kindness and compassion during her last two weeks.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Saving Grace Shelter at or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital at 501 St. Jude Place Memphis, TN 38105

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Nellie Sullivan Watson, please visit our flower store.

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