Nowell D. Nelms, M.D.

Nowell Darden Nelms

b. 09 Feb 1909 - Newport News, VA
d. 30 Mar 1998 - Shalimar, Okaloosa, FL - age 89

University of Virginia School of Medicine, 1936

 My own physician was Nowell D. Nelms, M.D. in Southampton Shopping Center.
He had been an Army buddy of my father's during the war, where he earned the nickname
of "Stinky" Nelms for his ability to spot slackers.

- Carol Buckley Harty ('65) of NC - 04/21/05

arol, was your Dr. Nelms father of Chandler Nelms (HHS - '63)?  Chandler was one of the blond
gorgeous ones......and got Best Dressed in the Hall of Fame. 

- Gloria Woolard Price (HHS - '65) of FL - 04/25/05

Yes, ma'am, he was indeed!  Chandler had an older brother, equally gorgeous, whom I believe
was named Nowell Darden Nelms, Jr., and who used the name Darden.  Dr. and Mrs. Nelms were both fine looking people as well - but,
OH, MY GLORY  - those sons could stop traffic!

- Carol Buckley Harty ('65) of NC - 04/25/05


Hi Carol - Oh, Boy, do I remember Chandler Nelms (Hampton HS - '63). I dated Chandler in high school and he was also at East Carolina when I was there. When he would come to pick me up for a date my mother would spend more time "primping" than I did. Everyone should have a "Moon Doggie" (spelling?) in their life - at least once - and I'm glad to say I did. What a "Hunk"!!!

- Jo Ann Stewart ('64) of TX - 04/26/05

I wonder if that could be used on a resume?

Congratulations - oh, I mean, thank you, Jo Ann!

- Carol Buckley Harty ('65) of NC - 04/26/05

Hi Carol,

Jo Ann Stewart ('64 - of TX) speaking of the Nelms brothers brought back my memories of them.  I dated Darden Nelms and like her mother primping for Chandler, I think my mother had a crush on Darden as she was terribly disappointed when we stopped dating.  And I recall that Chandler used to hang around Stuart Gardens for some reason. They were both cuties!!  Thanks for the memories, Jo Ann.

- Neta Collins Hastings ('60) of VA - 04/28/05
WOWZERONI!!!  I'm impressed anew! 
I still think that could be used on a resume.

   I've no doubt your mama was heartbroken when y'all stopped dating.  She was probably envisioning the World's Prettiest Grandchildren and The Most Beautiful Family Reunions for years to come - not to mention the introductions to her friends - "This is my son-in-law, Darden Nelms" - and then watching the ladies all drop to the ground in a near-lethal swoon!

   Congratulations to you, too - oh, I mean, thank you, Neta!

- Carol Buckley Harty ('65) of NC - 04/26/05



My name is Chandler Nelms. Im actually a graduate of HHS class of 63, but Ive taken great interest in the NNHS Newsletters brought to my attention by my sister-in-law, Jackie Veneris Nelms. She was surfing the website and came upon a (dialogue) between Neta Collins (Hastings - '60 - of VA) and Jo Ann Stewart ('64 - of TX) which named both my brother Darden and myself as two brothers that had dated these two girls back in our high school days. Dave Spriggs ('64 - of VA) helped me get in contact with Jo Ann a couple of days ago and we are now having a blast catching up on 40+ years since we dated, thanks to your efforts and the newsletter. How can I join in the newsletter?

- Chandler Nelms (HHS - '63) of MD - 09/09/05

Hi, Chandler!  You just did!

   (The loud clunk just heard all over the eastern half of the United States was me - falling off my chair in a dead swoon............ This is but an echo of the same sound I once made in his father's office forty-eleven years ago when I saw the incredibly gorgeous Chandler for the first time......As I recall, his mama laughed at me and my inept and fruitless attempts to hide my uncontrollable gawking....)

   Welcome, Chandler!  We're delighted to have you join us!  (Thanks, David!!!) 

   As Dave must have already told you, "Crabbers are always welcome, and you won't be the first."

- Carol Buckley Harty ('65) of NC - 09/09/05


Carol, of the four sites you sent to Chandler Nelms (HHS - '63 - of MD)......  I'm soooo glad I could access all the newsletters to see which ones you referred to him........'cause I know I wrote something on one or two.  Just wanted to make sure it wasn't anything  embarrassing.......not that he knows me (or cares).....I was a lowly sophomore when he graduated.  But we ARE alumni, so that's gotta count for something, huh?

- Gloria Woolard Price (HHS - '65)  of FL - 01/10/05

  Well, the comments were all admiring and flattering....oh, who am I kidding?!?  We were all positively drooling!  I suppose it would depend on what sort of thing embarrasses you, Gloria.  Personally, if I ever actually encounter the man, I shall blush so
scarlet everyone will think I'm the Crabber!!!

- Carol Buckley Harty ('65) of NC - 09/10/05



Reading further through the Puff newsletter, you girls are really silly and make ME blush. You make
me wish I was younger and had the stamina. So cut it out. Youre giving me an inferiority complex.

Im not as good as I once was, but Im good once as I ever was.   - Toby Keith   

- Chandler Nelms (HHS - 63) of MD - 09/10/05

Oh, c'mon, Chandler, it's hardly our fault that you're gorgeous.  Surely you've spent your entire life having women gawk at you.  You should be well accustomed to it by now.

   Making people blush is part of my job description.  And I should know; I wrote it myself. 

   Hey, Wayne Honey and Rip Precious, do you think we should.......?!?  No, probably not - WILD GIGGLES!!!

   But we'll try to behave, Chandler.  Maybe.  Naaaah.....

- Carol Buckley Harty ('65) of NC - 09/12/05

, you crack me up. You want to see some awful pictures? Ive got some doozies that my dear
mother (God rest her soul) saved for me. Ill try to scan them and send them to Carol to further humiliate me via the Newsletter. And yes I do remember you.

- Chandler Nelms (HHS - 63) of MD - 09/13/05


I'm glad you're having fun, Chandler! 

   By the way, your dear mother was a sweetheart!  I remember both your parents quite fondly, and many times have longed for the Good Old Days when your father was still my personal physician.

- Carol Buckley Harty ('65) of NC - 09/13/05


... Im sorry, but I searched high and low and could not find that picture of Dad in uniform.
Possibly, one of my brothers has it instead. Ill ask them.

- Chandler Nelms (HHS - 63) of MD - 09/16/05

..."one of my brothers"?  There's a THIRD one of y'all besides you and Darden?!?  Oh, do tell!

   Thanks, Chandler!

   (Wayne Honey and Rip Precious, I can hardly believe that you two are maintaining radio silence throughout this entire drooling thread.  "It ain't natural!"  But of course, it's not my fault that they're gorgeous!)

- Carol Buckley Harty ('65) of NC - 09/20/05


CBD ("Carol Buckwheat Dawlin'"),
First, please allow me to congratulate you on having absolutely NO SHAME, regarding those YOU find to be "good looking", and being PROUD of it!! I don't know about Rip (Collins - '65 - of TN), who does?, but I've been afraid to respond lest I slip, fall and drown in all that " DROOLING"! I was going to wait just to see how deep it would get, but of course you have challenged me and what's-his-name (Russell Eugene) on the issue, thereby forcing a reply.
No, my dear, I'm happy for ya! You just keep doing as you've been doing and soon the men in the white coats will come and take you away. Then, you can ask Rip what he thinks! He'll be where they're going to take you!!
In a hurry, more insults to come later (of course you know I'm "funnin' ya"), but please do as Dave Arnold ('65 - of VA) suggested <put on the bibs>!!

- Wayne Stokes ('65) of VA - 09/21/05

AHHHH, THAT'S better, Wayne Honey!!!  I was just checking to make sure you were still there.

Now I can give my poor salivary glands a break and rest for a season!  Thanks for checking back!

- Carol Buckley Harty ('65) of NC - 09/21/05


To Chandler Nelms (HHS - '63), besides Darden (HHS - '58), is your other brother named Robert, retired from the AF? 

- Gloria Woolard Price (HHS '65) of FL - 10/01/05


Gloria Yes, Robert (aka Edwin, aka Bob, Darden and I call him Robwin) is retired from the AF
and lives in Shalimar, FL (aka southern Alabama).

- Chandler Nelms (HHS - 63) of MD - 10/01/05

Give your brothers some good ol' Typhoon Regards for us!

- Carol Buckley Harty ('65) of NC - 10/03/05

Chandler ...Thanks for letting me know that Robert is your brother.  I live in Niceville, about 15 miles from Shalimar.  And, dahling, it's not Southern's called "LA" for Lower Alabama, altho we take great umbrage to being called that.  :)  :) 

 - Gloria Woolard Price (HHS '65) of FL - 10/03/05

Dr. Nelms' office was next to Southampton Pharmacy, on the Elizabeth Road side.

 - Gloria Woolard Price (HHS '65) of FL - 10/06/05

I never met Chandler (Nelms - Hampton HS - '63 - of MD) , but his dad was a great family doctor who meant a great deal to my mother, my brother and myself.  After Dick
(Krause - '57) and I married we would drive from Newport News to his office.  The drive didn't matter because Dr. Nelms and his staff were so special.

- Joan Lauterbach Krause ('60) of VA - 11/10/05

Thanks, Joan!  As often as I was in Dr. Nelms' office, I'm surprised that I never saw y'all there!

   Our family all thought very highly of Dr. Nelms - especially my father, who served with him in WWII, and was not given to passing out praise lightly.  We thought nothing of driving over to see him.  There was never any question of seeing another physician.

- Carol Buckley Harty ('65) of NC - 11/11/05


First, Joan (Lauterbach Krause - '60 - of VA), and you too, Carol ('65 - of NC)..thanks for all the kind words about my dad (Nowell D. Nelms, M.D.). In my mind, he was one of a kind. He continued to make house calls well after most doctors had given that practice up. I can remember a few times when some patients couldnt afford to pay their bills and he simply let it go (which drove my mother crazy). He also had the gentlest bed side manner Ive ever seen.

 - Chandler Nelms (HHS - 63) of MD - 11/16/05

Oh, my goodness!  There were two of them!  My daddy finally had to leave private practice and work at the
Veterans' Administration Center at Kecoughtan so he could pull a salary because he kept refusing to charge his patients - or collect from those he had once charged.  I never knew that about your father, because he always treated Mama and me for free anyway - something about professional courtesy to a fellow physician's family.  We tried not to abuse the privilege by only visiting when it was necessary.  And Daddy had made us practically sign a blood oath never to call a physician at home unless it was a life threatening emergency.  But even as a kid I knew what a good doctor - and good man - your father was.  It was patently obvious.

- Carol Buckley Harty ('65) of NC - 11/16/05

Dr. Nelms delivered my first two sons in the early 60's.

- Joan Ownby Mathieson ('58) of VA - 01/20/06

Dr. Nelms delivered all three of my sister Eleanor's (Buckley Nowitzky - '59 - of NC) children as well.  Unfortunately for me, I moved away before he could do the same for me.  However, he did tell me when I was thirteen that I would "make a good breeder" - which at the time I thought was absolutely outrageous.  But it gave me a great chuckle when I recalled it (as I did) at the birth of each of my seven children.  He was quite right, of course; labor, delivery, and recovery were all extraordinarily easy for me.

- Carol Buckley Harty ('65) of VA - 01/20/06

I had to laugh reading about Dr. Nelms saying you would be a good breeder..... He was a trip. I would always get a big dose of his humor every time I was at his office. I could tell you stories ! ! ! But unfortunately that kind of "woman talk" might offend some of your readers! Here's a mild one I don't think the guys would mind......

Once when I was on the table I told Dr. Nelms that I was having pain in my lower back and he told me to turn over..... which I did. He examined my back and didn't seem to see a problem evidently...... because he pulled down the sheet covering my bare bottom...... gave me a hard slap on the butt..... and said, "If you'd get rid of some of that, your back wouldn't be hurting!" ha ha
Yes...... he was something!

- Joan Ownby Mathieson ('58) of VA - 01/29/06

At the age of six (1945) I was excited about just having started first grade. But after only a few school days I got up one morning and my scrawny legs wouldn't work. At least not well. Pain in both knees. Well, it made me angry and I threw a fit cause I really wanted to go to school (I was very young).

My family at the time lived at 1419 24th Street in Newport News. We were fortunate to have Doctor Nowell Nelms as our family physician and he diagnosed Rheumatic Fever brought on by a strep infection that I had had and everyone thought was cured. I was always falling into any available body of water more than a few inches deep and got the strep from an accidental dive into chilly Indian Creek and swallowing a pint of water not so pure as when the Indians had it - but I digress.

I can recall Janie Penn (whose family owned Penn's Luggage in NN) bringing me my 'homework' from first grade and carrying back to Magruder School* my completed (crayola art) assignments. I can also remember overhearing Doc Nelms tell my parents that my chances of living to see twenty-one were slim due to mitral valve damage that had occurred. RF back in those days was often a death sentence for children and the preferred treatment was sulfa-drugs.

Months went by and I can't be sure of the timing, but Dr. Nelms arrived on one of his regular house calls with news of a new medicine. Seems there was recently made available in the US in sufficient quantity a 'miracle drug' that had been used in England, and to treat troops of the D-day invasion, with astounding success. The drug was Penicillin, and the good doctor started me on it that day, and that was the first day of my long, steady recovery over the following months.

Fast forward to the early sixties when Andrea** and I had returned to the peninsula and lived on Chesapeake Avenue, near LaSalle in Hampton. It was Doctor Nelms that diagnosed Andrea as ''with-child' in his Kecoughtan office. Whenever I accompanied her to his office for follow-up he always sent his nurse out to the waiting room to fetch me. When I arrived he would say; "Get in here young man, pull up your shirt so I can check out your 'ticker.' He sometimes paid more attention to me than to Andrea. I think that he and I both understood that he (and mold) had literally saved my life.

I have known outstanding men in my lifetime but none more deserving to be included in Tom Brokaw's "Greatest Generation" than Nowell D. Nelms. It was abundantly clear that Doc Nelms loved people and they loved him back. He was a caring man, dedicated to healing, and he did it with great skill, compassion, and a touch of humor.
I will be ever grateful for his care and caring. 

- John London (Warwick HS - '57) of VA - 07/26/06

* The Magruder school that I attended was I think much older than the one that has been discussed here before. It was an gothic-looking red-brick building, ancient even back in the mid 40's.

** Andrea is my squaw of WAY MUCH years. <said with a grin, and the hope that she never sees this lest I not live to see another lovely Virginia Sunrise>

  ... The other pics are interesting and don't know where they would go......maybe at Dr. Nelms' site?  The Jackson Hewitt building is the former Southampton Pharmacy and the "Dentists" building I believe was Dr. Nelms' office.  If I'm mistaken, then just throw them out.  Was wondering if Chandler (Nelms - Hampton HS - '63 - of MD) might have pics of his father's office. 

- Gloria Woolard Price (HHS '65) of FL - 07/30/06
Thanks, Gloria!

June 2006 June 2006

If you are in touch with Jane [Janie, as I knew her] Penn Clark ('57 of MD) would you send to her greetings from me. If she is of the family of Penn's Luggage of Newport News then we knew each other as children. 

I spent a few formative years at 1419 24th street in NN and her family lived directly across the street. This would have been circa 1945-47. At that time I contracted Rheumatic Fever, a deadly disease back in those days. The wonderful Dr. Nelms was our family physician and was treating me at that time. This event coincided with, and prevented, my starting first grade which was profoundly vexing to me. I was disabled for over a year.

Anyway, it was the lovely little 'Janie' Penn that so kindly ported the daily assignments and materials from school [Magruder] each day to me and dutifully picked up the work that I had completed from the previous day and took it back to school, thus allowing me to eventually 'graduate' first grade without missing a beat.

She was a sweetie then and I'll bet she still is [never end a sentence  ...]

Thanks, Janie!

- John London (Warwick HS - '57) of VA - 07/31/09
Thanks, John!



Dr. Nowell D. Nelms

Dr. Nowell D. Nelms, age 89, passed away March 30, 1998, at Westwood Health Care Center.

Dr. Nelms was born on Feb. 9, 1909, in Newport News, Va. In 1936 he graduated from the University of Virginia School of Medicine and began practice in Mathews, Va. During World War II he served with the Army Air Corps as a flight surgeon with the 8th Air Force in Europe. After the war he practiced in Hampton, Va., for many years before becoming the assistant chief of admissions at the Kecoughtan Veterans Hospital. Upon retirement he moved back to Mathews, where he lived until he moved to Fort Walton Beach, Fla., in 1991.

He was an avid sailor and a member of Hampton Yacht Club for many years. He was also active in the Coast Guard Auxiliary and retired from the local Flotilla.

He was preceded in death by his loving wife, Dorothy "Dot" White Nelms. He is survived by three sons and their wives. Nowell D. Nelms Jr. and wife Jackie of Dunedin, Fla., Robert E. Nelms and wife Debora of Shalimar, Fla., and Chandler C. Nelms and wife Emily of Potomac, Md.; seven grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Little Chapel Funeral Home, 910 Beal Pkwy., Fort Walton Beach, is in charge of arrangements.

Published in the Northwest Florida Daily News, April 01, 1998



Tearing down the old Riverside Hospital. How sad. This would break my parents' hearts if they were still alive.
That is where they met....or should I say "re-met".

Originally, Dr. Nelms, who had just graduated from medical school at UVA, took over a practice from an aging doctor in Mathews County. He became my mother's family doctor when she was 13. Years later, after WWII and his divorce from his first wife (my two step-brothers' real mother), he re-met my mother (when I was 7 or 8) who was in nursing training at Riverside.

Besides his practice at the corner of Kecoughtan and Elizabeth Road, he was on staff at Riverside. She had been a stay-at-home mom when she divorced my biological father (who was also a doctor and a graduate from UVA) when I was 4, so she decided to go into nursing.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

- Chandler Nelms (HHS - '63) of MD - 03/25/08
WOWZERS! Thank you, Chandler!



(This page was created on 01/17/06.)

Clip art courtesy of - 01/17/06

Animated Military Flags courtesy of courtesy of - 06/18/03

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