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Nelson M. Harrison

November 17, 1944 ~ April 22, 2021 (age 76)


Life Story of Nelson McKesson Harrison


Nelson was born to the late Sylvester and Mary Harrison on November 17, 1944 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  He was educated in the Philadelphia Public School System and went on to graduate from Temple University with a degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering. 


Nelson was baptized as a child but later joined and found spiritual guidance at Greater Saint Matthew Baptist Church.


Nelson was an Engineer by profession and worked for several companies such as General Dynamics and Westinghouse.  A staunch entrepreneur, he also owned and operated NEMA, Inc., a multifaceted engineering and construction company.  Rounding his professional career, he continued as an educator in the Philadelphia School District, where he later retired.  He loved working with and broadening the minds of the youth through teaching Environmental Science.  He understood that education and access were intertwined and a pathway to success. He served as father to not only Nelson II, Jermaine, Todd and nephew Anthony; but as a father figure and mentor to so many more. Never too busy, he was always a listening ear and trusted resource to anyone that needed it.   A man of many talents, he was also an expert accountant, serving as a financial consultant to small and large businesses, local politicians, and individual entities.  He was a man with a large heart and desired to see everyone thrive, and so through entrepreneurship and leadership he helped to build many businesses into strong, successful, and solid establishments.  


Nelson’s greatest and most lauded accomplishment was his family.  He loved his wife, the late Deborah Harrison, and three sons.  Each of his sons worked tirelessly to ensure their father was loved and cared for throughout his years.  Because Nelson was such a great example, his children looked up to him in admiration and modeled their own families with teachings and examples learned by watching their father.  Nelson was also the ultimate Pop-Pop! He loved his 5 grandchildren, Derrick, Jarred, Todd II, Nelson III, Skyler; and goddaughter Lauren, often planning vacations and activities for them.  Even in his later years, he would make sure to attend each of their sporting events, dance recitals, and school functions.  His two daughter-in- laws, Angela and Erica, which he referred to as daughters, were also very special to him. He loved to share loving guidance and advice with all of his family.


Nelson never met a person he didn’t call friend.  He had friends and family throughout the country, most notably, from Philadelphia, Connecticut, South Carolina, and Ohio.  He kept in touch with each and every person. He was affectionately known as Pop-Pop, Pops, Chief, Mr. Nelson, Uncle Nelson, or just plain old Nelson. He was a respectable and exemplary man with a genuine heart.  Nelson loved spending time with people and looked forward to sharing his humorous personality with family and friends. He was the life of the party with endless jokes, wit, and a snappy comeback that would leave you applauding his cleverness. He loved a good party that involved dancing and flavorful food.  He was overtly generous, loved to see others happy, and was the person to call if you needed a helping hand.   


Nelson departed from us peacefully on Thursday, ­April 22, 2021.  He will now be rejoined with his beloved wife (Deborah), sister (Sylvia), and brothers (Milton and James).  He leaves behind: his three sons, Nelson II (Angela), Jermaine, and Todd (Erica). He also leaves to mourn: his grandchildren, Derrick, Jarred, Todd II, Nelson III, Skyler; special nephew Anthony; and godchildren, Lauren and Tyla, Myles, Zoey and Ava, who also loved him as their Pop-Pop.  In addition, he leaves his brother Norman (Estelle); two sisters, Juanita and Emily and a host of cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends who will cherish his memory and carry on his legacy forever. 



Submitted With Love,

The Family



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Public Viewing
May 5, 2021

9:00 AM to 10:30 AM
Greater St. Matthews Baptist Church
1538 W. Wingohocking Street
Philadelphia, PA 19140

Celebration of Life
May 5, 2021

11:00 AM
Greater St. Matthews Baptist Church
1538 W. Wingohocking Street
Philadelphia, PA 19140


Northwood Cemetery
1501 Haines Street
Philadelphia, PA 19126

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