Robert Earl Nelson was born September 1, 1944 in Arkadelphia, Arkansas to the union of Robert Henry and Pauline Middleton Nelson. Robert was the oldest of eight children. Robert was known as a “Gentle Giant”. A loving, honest, kind, and caring young man who never met a stranger. He was a 1962 graduate of Peake High School in Arkadelphia. He confessed his faith in Christ at a young age. He was a faithful servant and life-long member of St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church.
As a young man full of life, he met and married his high school sweetheart, Betty Powell on November 21, 1965. They were blessed with 55 wonderful years of life and love. To this union were born two sons, Roderick Earl and Patrick Henry.
Robert attended Tyler Barber College in Little Rock, Arkansas, and graduated in 1963. After graduation, he began his apprenticeship under Carl “Crow” Daniels, a master barber. After two years under Mr. Daniels, Robert decided to venture out on his own. He rented a building space on Pine Street. After five years of renting, he decided he wanted to own his space, so he purchased a lot and began erecting a building from the ground up. In 1970, Nelson’s West End Barber Shop, on 1901 West Pine Street, was birthed. Nelson’s West End Barber Shop is a family-oriented business. He was afforded the opportunity to work beside his loving wife Betty and his sister Annie for many years. In 1993, his son Patrick joined the staff. Robert was a proud business owner and barber, who enjoyed providing services to the community for over 58 years.
Robert was not only a hard-worker, but in his spare time, he enjoyed hunting, listening to music, and going to the drag strip. He was a crafty man and a “wanna-be '' carpenter, who took pride in the things that he created. He loved his cars to be nice and clean, and his lawn to be well-maintained. He loved his designer ties, suits, shoes, and cologne. Not only did he love to look good and present himself well, he loved to smell good too.
The days of our years are threescore years and ten, Psalms 90:10. Robert was richly blessed to live 76 years. Though he is no longer with us in body, his legacy will live on in the hearts and minds of those who were impacted by the wonderful life he lived. On Tuesday, August 24, 2021, Robert passed peacefully into the Lord’s embrace, with his family by his side. His parents and brother Temothy Nelson, Sr. preceded him in death.
Because love is far greater than death, his love will continue to live in the hearts of his family; the love of his life, Betty of Arkadelphia; two sons, Roderick and Patrick (Romykia) Nelson; three grandchildren, Jakhiry, Zhaiven, and Kaleigha; two great-grandchildren, Keanu and Karter; two brothers, James D. Nelson and Terry L. Nelson, Sr.; four sisters, Annie M. Nelson-Tate, Brenda Smith, Ollie Litt, and Sherrell Nelson; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and countless friends.
Submitted by the Nelson Family
The family will receive friends from 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 4, 2021 at Williams Funeral Home. A celebration of his life will be shared at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, September 5, 2021 at St. Paul AME Church with Rev. T. W. Scott, officiating. Interment will be at Gum Springs Cemetery.
Active pallbearers will be Darrell Middleton, Keith Nelson, Jermaine Nelson, Terry Nelson, Jr., Jason Nelson, Robert Middleton, Brandon Middleton and John Robinson. Honorable to mention of the Peake High School Class of 1962.