Ada D. Nelson (1920 - 2019)

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Service Information
Swan-Law Funeral Directors
501 North Cascade Avenue
Colorado Springs, CO

September 7, 1920 May 10, 2019
Another member of the Greatest Generation is gone. Ada D. Nelson of Englewood and Colorado Springs, Colorado passed away peacefully on May 10, 2019. Ada was born on September 7, 1920, in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Homer Deakman and Leila (Robinson) Deakman. The family later moved to Flushing, Long Island, where in her early school years Ada developed a great interest in language and reading. She attended Barnard College, the first woman in her family to attend college. Due to the Great Depression Ada had to leave Barnard after two years, entering the workforce as a secretary and stenographer in New York City.
After the United States entered World War II Ada's life and career took an unexpected turn. A family friend told Ada's mother about a new government agency that was hiring secretaries and stenographers. At the friend's suggestion, Ada showed up at their office in Manhattan to apply for a job, much to the surprise of the local staff of the Office of Strategic Services (the predecessor to the Central Intelligence Agency) who thought this location was a secret. After training in Washington D.C. she shipped out to London, England, where she worked in the OSS London Headquarters as a secretary and stenographer through the end of the war, while experiencing nearby German bombings and rocket attacks. Several weeks after the end of hostilities, Ada was among the first small group of OSS civilian staff sent into occupied Germany. When the OSS mission in Germany wound down, Ada was offered an opportunity to become a legal secretary at the Nuremburg War Trials, becoming part of the team which prosecuted high level war criminals, including Deputy Fuhrer Rudolph Hess. While working at Nuremburg, mutual friends set her up on a blind date with Army Air Corps Captain Dennis Z. Nelson from Oberlin, Kansas, who later became her husband of fifty-eight years until his death in 2005. After a whirlwind courtship, including interesting adventures traveling around occupied Germany and Austria, Ada and Dennis returned stateside and were married in Tenafly, New Jersey, on December 14, 1947. The G.I. Bill took Ada and Dennis to Denver, Colorado, where Dennis attended the University of Denver and Ada worked as a legal secretary for a major Denver law firm. Dental school at the University of Missouri for Dennis took them to Kansas City, Missouri. After graduation they decided to return to Denver and make it their home. Ada was a dedicated wife and mother to their two sons, James C. Nelson and William D. Nelson, both of whom became attorneys. She also worked as a tireless volunteer for many organizations. Ada graciously shared her knowledge, wisdom and life experiences with others, making them all better people. Her granddaughters will always remember fondly her many family stories and her perfect impersonation of President Kennedy's phrase, complete with the Bostonian accent, "Life is unfair," always served with pinwheel cookies. She will be dearly missed by all.
Ada was predeceased by her husband, Dennis Z. Nelson, and her parents and her younger brother, Homer Deakman. She is survived by her sons, James (Ann) Nelson of Bethesda Maryland, and William (Laura) Nelson of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and her granddaughters, Jessica Harbeson, Bonnie Guillen, Sarah Nelson and Katie Nelson.
Ada will be interred at Fort Logan beside her husband at a private ceremony. Donations are not expected but for anyone wishing to, a donation to Smile Train, Ronald McDonald Mobile Charities or a in Ada's name would be appreciated.

Published in The Gazette from June 5 to June 9, 2019
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Colorado Springs, CO   (719) 471-9900
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