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Virginia Nelson, hospital fund-raiser


Virginia Page Nelson, a civic activist and lifelong volunteer who raised funds for several city hospitals, died Wednesday at Meridian Nursing Center in Lutherville of Parkinson's disease. She was 72.

Mrs. Nelson served as president of Union Memorial Hospital from 1969 to 1973 during a major rebuilding program. She also chaired several hospital committees and edited a history of the hospital, published in 1979. Her portrait and a plaque commemorating her work hang in the hospital lobby.

"She didn't really have a paid career," said Michelle Nelson, her daughter-in-law. "Volunteering was her career, and she was extremely successful at raising money for several hospitals. The Baltimore medical community recognized her efforts."

Mrs. Nelson served as a trustee for the Planned Parenthood Association, the Johns Hopkins Metro Center, Mercy Hospital and Bryn Mawr School, of which she was an alumna.

The former Virginia Lovell made her debut at the 1940 Bachelors Cotillon.

After graduating from Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, she married John M. Nelson III, now retired from Maryland National Bank. The couple, residents of Green Spring Valley, would have celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary on Tuesday.

Mrs. Nelson was a longtime member of the Altar Guild and vestry at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Garrison.

"She was extremely dedicated and eager to help," said the Rev. Sandra Haines, associate rector of the church.

At the onset of her long illness, Mrs. Nelson wrote her own obituary to help the family remember details of her life, her daughter-in-law said.

"She was a very organized person," said Michelle Nelson.

When Mrs. Nelson wrote the obituary, she had three grandchildren; when she died, she had seven.

Services will be at 11 a.m. today at the church, 232 St. Thomas Lane.

Other survivors include three sons, John M. Nelson IV of Winchester, Mass., William Page Nelson of Berkley, Calif. and Douglas G. Nelson of Baltimore; a daughter, Ellen Nelson White of Baltimore; a brother, Douglas G. Lovell Jr. of Villanova, Pa., and seven grandchildren.

Memorial donations may be made to Union Memorial Hospital, Parents Anonymous or to St. Thomas church.

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