Marjorie Nelson

Date of Birth

July 18, 1927

Date of Death

May 22, 2023

City of Death

Santa Barbara

Marjorie Nelson, an extraordinary family matriarch, acclaimed musician and 66-year Santa Barbara resident, died at 95 on May 22, 2023.

Born in Los Angeles, Marjorie frequently relocated as her father worked at Santa Fe Railroad stations across the country. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Pomona College, where she met fellow music major Wendell Nelson, then received a master’s degree from Claremont Graduate School. Marjorie and Wendell married in 1951, settling in Santa Barbara in 1957 when Wendell began a 34-year career as a music professor at UCSB.

While raising three children, Marjorie taught piano and performed with Wendell as a duo piano team. They made guest appearances with the Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra and completed several concert tours of Europe and Asia, giving world premiere performances of pieces composed by prominent contemporary composers. In 1979 Marjorie accompanied Wendell to the People’s Republic of China, where he was the first UC performing artist to play concerts, deliver lectures and host master classes.

After Wendell’s death in 1993, Marjorie continued to travel the world and enjoy her family, for whom she was a source of unwavering love, generosity, energy, optimism, encouragement and wisdom.

Marjorie Nelson is survived by a daughter, Cynthia Nelson Worth; two sons, Richard Nelson and Joel Nelson; and six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Local graveside services were private.


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