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Beloved Katy Icon, Johnny Nelson, Passes Away on Sunday



January 22, 2018

By Katrina Katsarelis

Johnny Nelson, 79, former Katy Mayor and City Administrator passed away Sunday afternoon around 1 PM. According to a family member, Nelson has an infection that spread, ultimately causing kidney failure. Nelson was surrounded by loved ones when he succumbed to the illness at Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital.

A Pillar of the Community

Nelson is known as a pillar of the community and often referred to as "the father of Katy." A lifelong Katy resident, Nelson served as Katy Mayor from 1983-87 and City Administrator from 1994-2014. After retiring as City Administrator in 2014, Nelson became the curator of the Katy Heritage Museum. He also served as the director of the Katy Area Chamber of Commerce in 1998 and the Chamber President in 1990.

One of Nelson's biggest accomplishments as City Administrator was helping to bring Katy Mills Mall to Katy.

Rice Farming Family Roots

The son of a rice farmer, Nelson attended all three of the Katy ISD schools. Katy Elementary School, Katy Junior High and Katy High School which were then all the same site. Nelson graduated in 1957, about 40 years after the school district was first established.

Nelson and his wife were married 51 years and have three children, Mike, Gary, and Sherry, as well as six grandchildren.

Outpouring of Love

City of Katy Police Chief Bill Hastings was a friend and colleague of Nelson's for 43 years. He and his wife Susan met because of Nelson when they were "set up" on a blind date. The Hastings were deeply saddened by the loss. “Johnny was a friend, mentor, advisor and many times like a father to me," says Bill Hastings. "I loved him and will miss him greatly. He was Katy!”

"He was one-of-a-kind a pillar of the community," says Melinda Feild, a former secretary who began working for Nelson in 1998 and knew him almost 20 years. "He left this world with so much history. He was such a wonderful person."

Former Mayor Fabol Hughes was also struck by the loss. "An important chapter of history closed with the passing of Katy icon, Johnny Nelson."

Bobby Katsabas, owner of Snappy's, knew Johnny for many years not only as a regular customer, but as a friend. "Johnny was part of Snappy’s family. His sense of humor always brought out smiles from everyone," says Katsabas. "Johnny will be missed and can never be replaced."

Nelson is pictured second from the left at a reunion of all living Katy mayors back in 2009. The mayors reunited again for Katy Magazine's People of the Year Awards in December, but Nelson was ill and could not make the event.

Services for Johnny Nelson

The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 PM on Wednesday, January 24 at Schmidt Funeral Home on the Grand Parkway in Katy.

Services will be held at 2 PM on Thursday Jan 25 at the First Baptist Church of Katy with Dr. Charles Wisdom, Rev Jeff Adams, and Rev Phil Clements officiating. Internment will be private.

Memorial Gifts

Those who wish may make Memorial gifts to Immune Deficiency Foundation, 110 West Road, Ste 300 Towson, Maryland 21204 (800)296-4433

More information will be announced as it becomes available on the Schmidt Funeral Home website.

B&B Locksmiths Grand Vision


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