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Richard J Nelson

February 8, 2021


Richard was a man of many gifts and talents. He was generous with his time and his resources. Richard held a BA in Social Work and a M.Ed. in Special Education and enjoyed learning and teaching. He used his vocations as an actor, teacher, and family therapist to advocate for the marginalized.

Richard had roles in Beloved, a 1998 movie adaptation of the book written by Toni Morrison; 3 episodes of Hack, a crime drama television series (2002-2004) filmed in Philadelphia; and a WHYY documentary about “Priest Who Served in the Ghetto”. He created the persona Ebonyman to teach elementary students about phonics and African and African American history through the vehicles of poetry, story-telling and call and response.

During Richard’s twilight years, he lived in Senior Care Communities. To the very end, he advocated for the vulnerable and seniors through his letter writing campaigns to local, state and United States representatives. He honored his ancestors by voting in every eligible election.  He participated in resident-based church services and found great joy singing the hymns his parents sang. He hosted pinochle and domino parties and continued his love of performance through historical recitations and storytelling.


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Richard J Nelson, please visit our floral store.


Gathering of Family and Friends
March 6, 2021

11:00 AM
Chelten Hills Cemetery
1701 Washington Lane
Philadelphia, PA 19138

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