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Tim, Crew and Casey Nelson.HARDIN - Tim Nelson lived only 42 years but there is no question he lived his life to the fullest.

Tim, of Carrollton, died on Jan. 16, 2018, and his Celebration of Life was held this past weekend at Calhoun High School Gymnasium. It was no surprise, but it was a packed house.

Tim "Nelly" Nelson died at his home with his wife, Casey, son, Crew, and brother, at his side, after a long battle with cancer. He was loved by many throughout the area. His wife said Tim inspired people he didn’t even know with his positive approach to cancer and life in general. She described Tim as "the best husband and father in the world."

For Tim, the sun rose and set in the eyes of Casey and Crew.

Pastor Jason Pierce led the service in Hardin, then his high school football coach, mentor and friend, Ric Johns and his best friend, J.D. Lorton, gave eulogies. Johns led Calhoun to a state football championship in 1992 and J.D. and Tim were key team members. Both J.D. and Tim would later become head football coaches.

“We took trips together as time went on and I came to know him and appreciate him more,” Johns said. “I can’t think of a better guy. I am truly going to miss him. Tim was easy to like. He had a great sense of humor and had no problem making friends. He had very thick skin, I guess it was kind of a survival thing. When Tim and his closest friends would get in an insult battle, there were no topics off the table. They had the kind of friendships only best friends have.”

Johns described Tim as a special football player, who because of his perseverance, patience and performance, became one of his best at Calhoun.

“He poured himself into things he wanted and he wanted to make a difference,” Johns said. “I have never coached a special teams player who had the kind of season he had as a senior.”

In his eulogy, Johns encouraged people to think about readdressing passions and dreams and things to make a difference in the world. Tim was big on his lasting and long-time friendships and Johns encouraged people to reconnect with some of their oldest friends.

“Tim wore his emotions on his sleeve,” Johns said. Johns added that Tim would encourage people to say the things they wanted to say to others, not wait.

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A fund for Crew called the C.A.N. Educational Fund has been established along with the Nelly Strong Foundation in Tim’s memory.

Tim Nelson, left, and J.D. LortonJ.D. Lorton provided a touching eulogy for Tim Nelson.

Tim and J.D. had many conversations before Tim died and J.D. said his friend would want him to thank everyone for coming to celebrate his life.

“Look around this room and think about how many lives Nelly touched,” J.D. said to those in attendance. “This crowd is a testament to his life.”

Johns’ most profound words to sum up Tim were: “I think in Tim Nelson we saw the truth of living. The faces and people from his past and recent life here today show it.”

Tim was adamant to him to make sure his son, Crew, was taken care of and helped in life. J.D. encouraged people to give to the C.A.N. Educational Fund set up for his son.

There are a lot of sad people around the region about the loss of Tim. However, many of those now believe Tim is in a better place and most of all, they will remember his smile, sense of humor and love of his wife and children. In his 42 years, Tim Nelson lived and appreciated life to the fullest.

J.D. said his grandfather had an interesting saying that epitomized how Tim approached life.

“My grandfather always said, ‘Life isn’t a dress rehearsal, have to make the most of it why you are here,’” J.D. said. “I feel I am the lucky one that Tim Nelson was my best friend. Each person in this room is better off for knowing Tim Nelson.”

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