Nelson J. Sholette, 85, of OgdensburgPosted: Updated:
A Mass of Christian Burial for Nelson J. Sholette, age 85 of Ogdensburg will be held on Tuesday (Feb 5, 2019) beginning with calling hours at the Fox & Murray Funeral Home from 11:00am to 1:30pm. The funeral mass will follow at 2:00pm at St. Mary’s Cathedral. Burial will be in the spring at St. Mary’s Cemetery.
After a lifetime of service, leadership and kindness to others, Nelson passed away quietly at home with his loving family on Thursday January 31, 2019.
He was born September 7, 1933 in Ogdensburg, NY, the second child of Nelson Sholette of Ogdensburg NY and Catherine Nagle of Constable, NY.He attended Lincoln Grade School, Bishop Conroy School and graduated salutatorian from St. Mary’s Academy in 1951. He graduated from Wadhams Hall Seminary College in 1955 and from St. Bernard’s College Seminary, Rochester, NY in 1959 where he completed four additional years of graduate studies in Theology. He completed a Master of Social Work degree from Catholic University, Washington, D.C. in 1971 and studied at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore Maryland and the Family and Childrens’ Society, Baltimore MD.
Nelson was ordained a Catholic priest at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Ogdensburg, NY by Bishop Navagh in 1959. He was stationed in Watertown, NY, Canton, NY, and Brownville, NY. He served as Director of Catholic Charities in Watertown for the Diocese of Ogdensburg where he did individual and marital counseling, arranged adoptions and worked with Head Start. He received “high praise” for his work at the Catholic Charities office in Watertown from Msgr. Robert Lawler for the care of those seeking assistance in Watertown. He also worked at both the Jefferson County Mental Health and Lewis County Mental Health Clinics doing family work and working with referrals from Family Court. He taught religion and started a basketball team at St. Mary’s School while in Canton.
In 1971, Nelson requested to be dispensed from his priestly duties and was granted this by Pope Paul VI thus, he continued as an active lay member of the Catholic Church. He was married to his wife, the former Judy Hall of Carthage, NY in 1973. Msgr. Robert Giroux and the Reverend Toby Schilling presided. Attendants were Dr. Joseph Clifford and Nancy Hall.
Nelson began work at the Mercy Hospital Community Mental Health Center as an outpatient therapist in the 1970’s and later became head of Consultation and Education. He then managed the Community Mental Health Center and Alcohol Treatment Centers at the same facility which included an inpatient psychiatric unit, an outpatient psychiatric unit with 1000 outpatients, a 24 hour emergency service, and an alcohol treatment unit which provided both detoxification and rehabilitation. He was later promoted to Assistant Administrator of Mercy Hospital of Watertown which was then a 450 bed health care complex with 1000 employees.
Nelson was Chief of Social Services at the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center Ogdensburg, NY from 1982 to 1995, then worked in private practice as a therapist in Massena, NY. Following that he worked at Hospice of St. Lawrence Valley.
Nelson served on many boards and committees. He was a member of the Community Services Board of Jefferson County, President of the Community Action Planning Council, Treasurer of the Jefferson Rehabilitation Center, President of the Jefferson County Council of Social Agencies, Vice President of the Disabled Person’s Action Organization while in Watertown, NY. He was also on the Board of Transitional Living, a member of the Jefferson County Committee on Alcoholism and the board of the Mental Health Association of Jefferson County.
Nelson served on the Advisory Board to the Commissioner of Mental Health of New York State in Albany, NY. He was a member of the Office of the Aging Advisory Board and a member the Jefferson County Adult Protective Services Advisory Board while in Watertown.
He was a member of the Alliance for the Mentally Ill of St. Lawrence County, on the Board of the Association for Neighborhood Rehabilitation, Citizens against Violent Acts and the School Board of St. Marguerite D’Youville Academy in Ogdensburg.
Nelson received Certificates of Recognition from Governors Mario Cuomo, George Pataki and David Patterson for his work with the disabled having done program planning, family services, fund raising and service to the community for the Disabled Person’s Action Organization. He also received formal recognition for his work with the disabled from the Commissioner of the NYS Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, Thomas Maul and was honored with this presentation (certificate) at the Indian River Theater for the Performing Arts. He also received a Certificate of recognition from Diana Jones Ritter, Commissioner of the NYS Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities.
Nelson was credited as one of the individuals who helped start the North Country Children’s Clinic (Well Baby Clinic) which provided free medical and dental treatment to children now known as North Country Family Health Center. He also worked with the late Robert Nortz, Assemblyman of the 114th District to establish the Alcohol Treatment Center at Mercy Hospital of Watertown. In addition he was one of the original members of the Board of Directors that started the Disabled Person’s Action Organization.
Nelson wrote a weekly question and answer column regarding Mental Health Wellness Issues for the Watertown Daily Times and educational articles as well. He gave many themed and educational speeches and classes for local businesses, high schools and colleges. He met with
the Jefferson County Probation Department and gave biweekly classes to probation officers on mental health counseling issues and psychological issues. He taught classes for law enforcement officials on mental health wellness. He also arranged classes regarding positive retirement planning for the New York Air Brake, Watertown, NY.
Nelson was a communicant of St. Mary’s Cathedral and was as active in the parish as his blindness allowed. Despite this handicap he loved to take the census for the parish and meet and talk with parishioners. He enjoyed golf, reading, cross country skiing, traveling, hiking, getting together with others, crock pot cooking and the Philadelphia Phillies.
He loved people, was known for his kindness, patience and helping others, always putting someone else first. He was known for his positive character, his sense of humor, creativity, high intellectual ability and to his wife of 44 years as a loving husband. He quietly helped others no matter how small or large the task and never asked for recognition.
He is survived by his wife Judy, cousins Charles and Peggy Sholette of Plattsburg, NY and Patricia Piz of North Carolina, also sister and brothers in law Elizabeth (Nancy) Hall) of Carthage, NY, George and Judy Hall of Carthage, NY, Rick Hall of Evans Mills, NY Jack and Joanne Hall of Interlachen, Florida and Joe and Elaine Hall of Carthage, NY as well as many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his sister, Sr. Kathleen Sholette Grey Nun of the Sacred Heart and his parents, Nelson and Catherine Sholette and Cousins Teresa Ladoceur and Betty Doud of Ogdensburg, NY.
Donations may be to Hospice of St. Lawrence Valley. Nelson would have been very pleased if someone performed a kindness in his memory. Condolences and fond memories can also be shared at www.foxandmurrayfuneralhome.com