Nellie's Story

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BANGOR - Nellie Burt died as quietly and gracefully as she lived her entire life, early Friday morning, March 25, 2016, in her bed at the Phillip-Strickland House in Bangor.

Born Nellie Dearesteen Emshwiller, on August 28, 1927 in New Boston, Ohio, she was the daughter of Lee and Callie Emshwiller (neé Cantrell). She had 5 siblings: her brothers Ralph (known as Shag), Jack and Oscar; and two sisters: Jean Adkins and Mary Alice Hertlein of Georgetown, Ohio, her only surviving sibling.

Nellie married James Robert (Bob) Burt, of Delta, Ohio, in 1950, who died in 1996. Nellie is survived by her four children, all of whom she was justly proud: Roberta Ann (Bobbie) Snyder (m. Bob Snyder), of Berkey, Ohio; William Lee (Bill) Burt (m. Deborah Burt), of Maumee, Ohio; Dana Jean Burt, of Tampa, Florida; and Jack Warren Burt (m. Marisa Solomon), of Bangor, Maine; and her grandchildren (Ryan, Jason, Kelly, Justin, Holly, Andrew, Ben and Lucas), and great-grandchildren (Tyler, Logan, Alexis, Thomas, Mia, Lily and Will), all of whom she kept in her thoughts and prayers, and whose birthdays she considered her duty to remember and celebrate.

Nellie earned a Bachelors degree in Education from Cedarville College in 1948 and taught Elementary school in Ohio, until she became a full-time mother. After her children grew she returned to teaching, and worked as a teacher's aide for special needs children at Dania Elementary School, in Dania, Florida, until her retirement.

Upon retirement, Nellie achieved her lifelong dream of traveling the world. With her friend and "Golden Girl" housemate, Betty Scirpo, of Hollywood, Florida, as well as with many other friends, Nellie visited Europe, the British Isles, Australia, New Zealand and the farthest edges of North and South America. She also followed her passion for tennis, and attended major championships at Wimbledon and the US Open, as well as many other tournaments, with her daughter, Dana.

Nellie had a deep, abiding Christian faith. This was expressed by her quiet strength during times of sadness and trouble, and by her patience, ready forgiveness and compassion. She lived her faith by trying to understand another person's struggles and pain, and never putting her own concerns above another's. Her children were taught to be open, humble, forgiving and patient. This they learned simply by watching their mother engage the world in her quiet way.

The Burt family would like to express their profound and heartfelt gratitude to Nellie's doctors; Dr. Penny Lamhut and Dr. Jens Rüter. Their care was thoughtful and compassionate, always with Nellie's best interest at heart. We thank you, and wish your care on others.

In 2012 Nellie moved from Tampa, Florida to the Phillip-Strickland House in Bangor, Maine. This was a great blessing. It can be an unnerving experience, moving to an assisted-living facility after being independent one's entire life. Yet Nellie quickly came to love her new home. It is impossible for us to properly articulate the remarkable care she received there. We wish we could name every staff member - from the outstanding nurses (Norma and Karen!), to the CNA's, wait staff, housekeeping, activities director, maintenance, cooks - each of them gave her comfort, joy, care and love. We know you mourn Nellie's passing with us. We hold you in our hearts and will always be eternally grateful. Thank you.

The family will hold a private ceremony in May. If anyone would like to make a donation in Nellie's name, please do so to the Phillip-Strickland House, 21 Boyd St., Bangor, ME. 04401.
Published on  April 1, 2016
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