Joy Elaine Edwards Nelson passed into the loving arms of her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on April 21, 2023. Elaine was born September 16, 1947, in Waco, Texas, to Joyce Harlan Edwards and Bedford Duncan Edwards. She attended Waco High School, graduated with honors, and received a debate scholarship to Baylor University. While at Baylor, she was a member of the Athenean Sorority (Kappa Kappa Gamma), honored as a Baylor Beauty, and married the love of her life, David Nelson, on April 12, 1969.
Elaine’s magnificent mind, quick wit, and humility were traits that defined her.
At Baylor Law School, Elaine was Articles Editor for the Baylor Law Review and graduated Cum Laude. She was a member of Baylor Moot Court Society and Phi Delta Phi. Elaine was also a member of the Baylor National Moot Court Team. Upon graduation, she accepted a position with Austin Industries in Dallas and later served as its General Counsel for twenty years. She was a founding member of the Construction Law Sections of both the Dallas and Texas Bar Associations and lectured widely on construction law. She was a graduate of Leadership Dallas and Leadership Texas and served as a Board Member for the North Texas Women's Business Council.
Elaine was an active member at Park Cities Baptist Church for 44 years. With grace and conviction, she served newborns, nearly weds, youth groups, and seniors, and every age in between. She and David were department directors to senior adults.
Elaine cherished her experiences and friendships at the Dallas Woman’s Club where she served as First Vice President over programs and as President of the Dallas Garden Club. Her philanthropic roles included serving as a Board Member of Children’s Medical Center, President of the Interfaith Housing Coalition, and President of the Baylor University Women’s Council of Dallas. She was an active member of Crystal Charity Ball, the Junior League of Dallas, and the Senior Source. In 2010, she was honored as “Baylor Woman of Distinction” of the Baylor University Women’s Council of Dallas.
Elaine loved to read, cook, and travel, especially with friends from the Dallas Garden Club.
Elaine was preceded in death by her daughter, Carol Christine Nelson. She is survived by her husband, David, her daughter, Harlan Hrncir, and her three grandchildren, Carol Christine “Cece,” Mary Margaret, and Nelson Hrncir. She is also survived by her brother, Galen Edwards, his wife, Cathy, and their three children, as well as her sister-in-law, Nancy Denny, and her six children, as well as 19 great nieces and nephews.
The family appreciates and extends our thanks for the love and support of many dear friends during her last years of struggle. Special thanks go to the entire staff and caregivers of The Preston of the Park Cities and the loyal and faithful residents of The Preston. We also wish to thank the staff of Pathways Hospice who graciously cared for their “Joy” in her last days.
In memory of Elaine, donations can be made to the Carol Nelson Scholarship Fund, a scholarship established as part of the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation (kappakappagamma.org) to empower students with educational support. Donations can also be made to 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative (21Wilberforce.org), a Christian human rights organization that supports the global expansion of religious freedom for all faiths.
A celebration of Elaine’s life will be held at Park Cities Baptist Church on Thursday, May 4 at 3pm.
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