She was born Nov. 4, 1915, in Marfa, Texas, to George and Lillie Russell, the youngest of four children.
She traveled with her father, a draftsman and US Forest Service Ranger during her teen years as he did training shows throughout New Mexico. She did trick-shooting demonstrations with him and helped him document the forest for environmental concerns in the 1920s.
Nellie married William “Bill” Jackson on Dec. 24, 1933 in Las Cruces, New Mexico. They were married 62 years. She and Bill were hairstylists and barbers in Texas before she studied applied arts for one year at Texas Technological University. They moved to the Rogue Valley in 1947 and built their home in Eagle Point.
She designed their home and then spent 56 years in the Rogue Valley as a draftswoman and designer of architecture before retiring in 2003 at the age of 88. Nellie was mainly self-taught in both painting and design. She drew plans for hundreds of custom new, solar heated and Victorian styled homes, churches and temples, as well as commercial buildings. She worked closely with building contractors all over Oregon and other states. For a time, she would design buildings and her husband would help build them.
She was a life-long member of Southern Oregon Society of Artists, where she was vice-president and selected year after year as “Artist of the Year” in many local galleries. Her passion was for watercolors and oils of natural subjects. She was active in the Soroptimist Festival of Arts, American Cancer Society, Eagle Point Historical Society, District 9 Senior Citizens Club, the Antelope Women’s Club and the Order of the Eastern Star.
Throughout her life, Nellie was the family caregiver: first taking care of her invalid mother at her Eagle Point home; and then taking care of her husband until his death in 1995; and then being caregiver to her daughter, Barbara, until her death in 2000. The last year of Nellie’s life was spent being taken care of at Andrea’s Adult Foster Care home in Medford.
She is survived by her son Sid (Teresa) Jackson, daughter-on-law, Mary Ellen Jackson, Medford; son-in-law Joseph Layton, Eagle Point; five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, daughter, Barbara Layton, a sister, Elizabeth and brothers, Coley and Ed.
Nellie was a loving mother, grandmother, great-gramma, aunt and friend and will be greatly missed.
Funeral services will be held Thursday, Apr. 22 at 2 p.m. at Memory Gardens Chapel, 1395 Arnold Lane, Medford, Interment will be in the Butte Falls Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society or to the Southern Oregon Society of Artists.
Arrangements by Memory Gardens Memorial Park & Mortuary.