ARUNDEL – As a buyer and an avid collector of antiques, Georgette Nelson often shared her finds with her family — but not always for long.

She once gave a nice bookcase to her son, James Nelson, he remembers.

Later, she called and said, “I’ve sold your bookcase and I’ll get you another one,” he said, and he had to surrender it.

“A few weeks later, we got a new bookcase,” he said.

Some of her gifts were more permanent, such as coin and stamp collections that Mrs. Nelson gave to her grandchildren.

She gave her granddaughter, Jessica Ellison, a “huge” collection of Beanie Babies, her son said.

Mrs. Nelson died Thursday. She was 85.

For years, Mrs. Nelson owned J-Bo’s Antiques in Arundel and a shop on Ocean Avenue in Kennebunkport.

When she was working in Kennebunkport, her routine was to wake up early to have breakfast at the Green Heron, just across the street from her shop, then open for business.

Vacationers who stayed at the Colony Hotel in Kennebunkport would often rest in the chairs outside her shop or stop in and chat with her on their way to and from the hotel.

“She made lifelong friends friends from across the country,” her son said.

As a “loyal Republican,” Mrs. Nelson was proud to have former President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara, in Kennebunkport, her son said.

She met the Bushes while she was working at the Kennebunk River Club, he said, and he thinks they visited her shop at least once.

James Nelson said that when he was growing up, his parents and siblings lived with his grandparents, an aunt, two uncles and a cousin.

“We were a large family,” he said, and every Sunday it was family tradition to gather for a “hearty” lunch.

Her son remembers Mrs. Nelson as a good cook, who had a tendency to cook Italian dishes even though the family has a French-Canadian background.

Mrs. Nelson carried on the tradition of big family gatherings, especially on holidays and other special occasions.

“She enjoyed being the center of attention,” he said.

“She was full of fun,” her son said, remembering his mother with a wide-brimmed red hat in the driver’s seat of her friend’s convertible. “It was one of those events that she liked to have fun, liked to be silly,” he said.

When it came to her family, though, she was always proud.

She was happy to become a great-grandmother and was eager for the next great-grandchild.

“She would brag to all her friends, even strangers, about her family,” her son said. “She always did that.”

 

Staff Writer Emma Bouthillette can be contacted at 791-6325 or at:

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