James (Jimmy) Nelson
James Nelson Passed away on Tuesday September 24 at the age of 90.
Jimmy was born in Chicago, IL to James and Winifred Nelson. At age 9 he became interested in Ventriloquism when his Aunt Margaret gave him a small dummy she had won at Bingo. Soon he was doing shows at clubs and schools in the area. He turned that into a full blown career and he became famous in the 50’s into the 70’s . His first big break was being chosen to do the commercials on Milton Berle’s Texaco Star Theater where he was seen weekly. Several appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show followed and his career took off. He is still remembered for his ten year commercials for the Nestle Company when dummy Danny O’ Day sang the Nestle Quik song and Farfel, the talking dog wound up the message with the word “Choc-litt” and a snap of his jaw. In 2011 he was honored at the Ventriloquist Convention in Fort Mitchell¸ Ky for his 70 years in show business and named the “Dean of American Ventriloquists.” A building at the Vent Haven Museum is named for him.
Jimmy moved his family to Cape Coral in 1968 and still traveled extensively for show dates all over the country and Europe. He was active in the community. He was a member of the early Cruise Club and the Power Squadron. In 1983 he was engaged by First Federal of Fort Myers as Spokesperson and Public Relations Representative.
He was predeceased by his parents and a brother Donald. He leaves his loving wife of sixty-three years, Betty, children Leejay, St. Petersburg, FL, Larry, Morgantown, WV, Jerry, (Julie), Phoenix, AZ, Marianne Taylor (Glenn), Port Charlotte FL, Elizabeth Chambers, (Chris), Wilton, CT and James, Ash Fork, AZ., six Grandchildren and four Great Grandchildren.
Visitation will be held on Monday, September 30th from 5 to 7 PM at Fuller Metz Funeral Home, 3740 Del Prado Blvd. South, Cape Coral., and a Funeral Mass will be held on Tuesday, October 1st at St. Andrew Catholic Church, 2628 Del Prado Blvd. South at 11:30 AM.
In Lieu of flowers donations can be made to Vent Haven Museum via PayPal at https://www.venthaven.org/nelson or by check, (In memory of Jimmy Nelson) to Vent Haven Museum 33 West Maple Avenue, Fort Mitchell, KY 41011