Anita Lombardo Nelson was born into a family of 13 children. She had three children of her own and throughout her life gained numerous friends who considered her part of their families.
“She was a pleaser,” said her husband, Dale Nelson. “She always put everyone before herself.”
Anita Nelson had just turned 57 when she died Wednesday of lung cancer complicated by scleroderma. A prayer service will be at 6:30 p.m. today at Omaha's Mary Our Queen Catholic Church. A memorial Mass at the church starts at 10 a.m. Monday.
Despite her lengthy battle with scleroderma and related lung problems, friends said, Nelson remained positive and spiritual, and encouraged others to look on the bright side.
She built a home that became a gathering place. Proud of her Sicilian heritage, Nelson would dazzle guests with her homemade biscotti and prepare dinner spreads worthy of awards, said her sister Teri Swartz.
“She loved fashion and was also very crafty,” said her daughter Angela. “Every holiday she'd do something special to the house.”
Loved ones said Nelson sparkled daily with jewelry and nail polish. Said Swartz: “Anita would have the entire room singing and dancing.”
She was preceded in death by her parents, Dr. Anthony and Dorothy Lombardo, and brothers Tony and William.
Besides Dale and Angela Nelson and sister Teri Swartz, survivors include a son, Philip; daughter Marsha Nelson-Mensah; and siblings Rick, Tom, Kris, Gina, Phil, Dan, Dorothy Starman, Denise Volenec and Lisa Edgar.
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