Obituary: Mary Jean Catherine Nelson |

Obituary: Mary Jean Catherine Nelson

Mary Jean Catherine Nelson

May 27, 1933 — July 22, 2018

Mary Jean Catherine Nelson, of Craig, Colorado, valiantly left this world on July 22, 2018, at The Memorial Hospital in Craig following a 3-year battle with lung disease. She was 85 years old.

Born during the early years of the Great Depression, Mary came into the world at 9:48 p.m., May 27, 1933, at Denver General Hospital. She was the only child of coal miner Moses Vigil and homemaker Veroniz Cordova. In addition to living in Denver, she spent her childhood in Erie, Colorado, where she developed a lifelong love for the outdoors. She was an inquisitive child who regularly sought new adventures, including catching tiny prairie dogs and other native creatures on the plains near her home. She was a smart, resourceful girl who learned to fend for herself at a young age, which led to a strong work ethic and a sense of frugality that lasted throughout her life.

Mary’s love of adventure during her adulthood led her to travel across the United States and other countries, including many trips to her beloved ancestral homeland of Spain, however, no matter how far she traveled, she always returned to her true home of Colorado, living in Denver, Lakewood, Rifle, Hayden, and finally settling down in Craig.

Mary’s unquenchable thirst for knowledge and love of the arts led her to in-depth study of horticulture, painting, and pottery. She was also a skilled hunter and angler, who expertly tracked game and caught fish in the wildernesses of Colorado, Alaska, Montana, and New England. An accomplished amateur pugilist, she was taught to box by her late husband, Melvin “Baby Face” Nelson, who was a professional boxer in the 1950s.

Later in life she found peace and friendship in Craig, where she was known to many as Lady Bug. She is remembered in town as the sweet, little old-lady with a broad smile and an infectious laugh.

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Mary is survived by her longtime partner of nearly 30 years, Francisco Reina, of Craig; sons Quinten Bashaw of Craig and Adam Bashaw of New Orleans; daughter-in-law Miranda Bashaw of New Orleans; grandson Jackson Bashaw of New Orleans; and cousins Sammy and Beverly Cruz of Federal Heights, Colorado, and April Cruz of Littleton, Colorado.

She is predeceased by her husband, Melvin Louis Nelson III, and her sons, Mark Takata and Melvin Louis Nelson IV.

On her request, no funeral or visitation will be held. Her family and friends will scatter her cremated remains in the Yampa River at a date to be determined.