JoAnn Faldetta Nelson

Published 4:08 pm Thursday, December 10, 2020

JoAnn Faldetta Nelson PHOTO

JoAnn Faldetta Nelson, 69, of McComb, MS, was called home to God on Saturday, December 5, 2020, after just finishing a game of Monopoly with her entire family, where she showed how to lose gracefully to an 8 year old. Art and JoAnn were in Houston for Art’s check-up at MD Anderson and staying with her daughter and son-in-law where she was surrounded by her family, something she had not been able to do, until recently, due to the pandemic. JoAnn had not been able to have her entire family together from February to December but for the past three weeks in a row, she as able to relish being with her children, and most especially, her granddaughter Eleanor, whom she adored. JoAnn’s last three weeks on this earth were joy-filled and we can only assume that it was her last gift from God to her, and from her to her family.

JoAnn was born on November 9, 1951 to First Generation Italian Americans, Frank Faldetta and Josephine Vutera Faldetta in Hammond, LA.

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JoAnn and her older brother Sal were raised on the family farm located on a small dirt road, aptly named Little Italy Road, which was populated almost exclusively by close relatives. It was on this small dirt road that Frank and Josie instilled the importance of family and community that was a hallmark of JoAnn’s character.

On April 8, 1972, JoAnn married Art Nelson from McComb, MS.  In 1975, Art added the suffix Sr. to his name with the birth of their first child, Art Nelson Jr. By 1978, they settled in McComb, and welcomed their daughter, Amy Elizabeth Nelson. JoAnn worked for Lit and Jim Alford and Duke Carlisle before she and Art began working at a local travel agency, which they later bought. JoAnn owned and managed her travel agency, The Travel Professionals. She loved the travel industry and measured her business success, not in dollars, but by how happy clients were upon their return. That same sense of caring for community is the reason her business was successful for nearly four decades. JoAnn could answer any question about a destination, would give honest opinions and suggestions and truly loved sharing her passion for travel with others.

JoAnn was very active in the community, she loved people, she loved cooking for her friends and family, and she loved singing for her church. No one ever left JoAnn’s table hungry or without the offer of a “plate” to take home. JoAnn was a member of JJ White and active in the choir from the time she moved to McComb until she joined New Covenant Presbyterian Church where she continued her worship and where she was considered the backbone of the alto section in the church choir — despite claims made by some that may say otherwise. JoAnn has been described as jovial and never without a smile. Both are true, unless you mention the time someone (i.e. her son) lit a string of firecrackers in a metal garbage can resulting in a visit by the police.

Because of her warm and welcoming personality, no one remained a stranger for long, always managed to stay in touch with friends and family and had a knack for calling at just the right time. JoAnn was always able to lift someone’s spirits with her gift of conversation and her ability to see the good in people. She was a dedicated friend who maintained lifelong, unwavering, relationships with her family and friends near and far. She adored her husband and her children, all of which took a back seat once her granddaughter Eleanor Pipe was born. You can’t think about JoAnn without immediately associating her with Christmas. The ever-present twinkle in her eyes grew brighter the day after Thanksgiving when she officially kicked off the Christmas season by pulling out her sizeable collection of Christmas sweaters and jewelry and putting up her beautifully decorated tree.

JoAnn is survived by her husband, Art Nelson Sr.; her son, Art (Bob) Nelson Jr.; her daughter, Amy Nelson Pipe and her son-in-law, James Pipe and their daughter, the light of JoAnn’s life, Eleanor. On Art Sr.’s side, she leaves behind Tommy and Jane Walman and their daughter Katie Cordell; and her family, Ken, Lydia and their daughter Allison Nelson; Michael, Memrie and Taylor MacDonald and their families; and Dallas and Rick Dickerson and their families. On JoAnn’s side of the family, she leaves behind her brother, Sal Faldetta and his wife Elvie; their two children Mark and Tracy and their respective families. She also leaves behind 21 first cousins and their families the Vuteras, Pellichinos, Faldettas, and Macalusos. All of whom she loved unconditionally.

Pallbearers will be Taylor MacDonald and Olin MacDonald, Mark Faldetta and Tracy Faldetta Pettegrew’s husband, Darren Pettigrew, and their two children Landon and Jacob.

The church will open for a walk-through visitation, December 12, 2020, at New Covenant Presbyterian Church from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. For the safety of all friends and family masks are required and social distancing measures will be in place. Out of an abundance of care and concern for everyone’s safety, and to abide by the new state mandate, the service will be held for the immediate family only. Burial will be held at Hollywood Cemetery in McComb. Though it is not the same as attending in person, the service will be streamed live via Zoom and all wishing to be a part of the service are welcome to watch from the link below. Click the link or enter the address into your Browser


For those that can, the family hopes you will play Christmas music on Saturday, put on a Christmas shirt and toast JoAnn with a mimosa, her favorite. She would love that.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in JoAnn’s name to MD Anderson Cancer Center, New Covenant Presbyterian Church in McComb where she was a founding member and attended, or to the charity of your choice.

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