Don Henry Nelson, II, affectionately known as Donny, was born July 7, 1961 to Don Henly -Nelson, Sr. and the late Sylvia Loretta Haile Nelson in Stuggart, Germany.
He spent his early years growing up in Germany, Washington D.C., and Landover, Maryland. The family returned to their hometown of Camden, South Carolina, where he was educated in the Kershaw County School System. Donny graduated from Boylan Haven Mather Academy in 1979 and was acknowledged as Who’s Who Among American High School Students. During his senior year he excelled in basketball, playing power forward while earning the nickname “Hawkeye”. He was also instrumental in helping the Mather Academy Eagles win the United Methodist State Championship in basketball.
After graduation, he matriculated at Hampton Institute, now Hampton University, where he majored in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing. While at Hampton he was the “Ping Pong” Champion in the Student Union, pledged Beta Chi Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated, with the line name “Nod”. Donny was also active in numerous student organizations on campus. He graduated with honors in 1983.
After graduation he returned home and worked for the Marriott Hotels Franchise and the United States Census Bureau. He later accepted a position in Detroit, Michigan working for General Motors-Cadillac Division. After fifteen years of working at general motors, Donny transitioned to working as a Pharmaceuticals Sales Representative for Eli Lilly.
While in Michigan he met and married Sharvonne Ferguson in September1989. To this union four children were born. The marriage later ended in divorce but he maintained a friendship with her until his death.
Donny later accepted a position in Greenville, South Carolina in the new call center for Ford Credit. He had a way of working his way through all jobs as if he were a seasoned professional.
As a father, Donny was loving, supportive, and attentive to his children. He made every effort to involve himself with them. As the oldest brother, he was always protective. He taught them to respect themselves and others while challenging them through sports and academics. He strived for excellence in all avenues of his life and had a great sense of humor. He enjoyed spending time with his nieces, nephews and other family members. He was overjoyed when he became a grandfather and loved doting over his granddaughter.
Donny was preceded in death by his mother, Sylvia Loretta Haile Nelson; his maternal grandparents, Richard H. and Bessie Pickett Haile; his paternal grandparents, Henley Nelson and Lula Boykin Nelson Woods and his godfather, Henry Lewis.
He leaves to cherish his memory, his children, Gabrielle Myette, Donnel Anthony, Jennelle Nicole, Terrell Alexander, and Zhyaire Omarion; a grand-daughter, Alaiya Giselle; his father, Don H. Nelson, Sr., three brothers, Richard Haile (Lynda), Ivan Fitzgerald (Jennifer), Anthony Leon (Sharon); one aunt, Delores Smith; godmother, Esther Lewis; four special cousins, Michael Smith, Wesley Nelson, Elmer (Hank) Pickett, and Charlton (Judson) Pickett, MD.
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