Anna Marie Nelson is a woman of contrast. She is petite, graceful and oh, so kind. After learning about her life, you discover that this delicate chalice of a woman holds inside her power, determination, dedication and passion for the people and interests in her life.
She grew up in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania and lived there until 1971. When her husband, George, was offered a position, she and her family moved to Glen Ellyn, Illinois – what would become her home for 30 years.
Anna Marie taught English in the public schools for five years and then “retired to raise our children.” And yet, she didn’t really retire. In 1974, “when our children were four and six, I ran for the school board. I served for seven years – four of those years as President.” She certainly wasn’t passive in her new position. “While I was there we hired a new superintendent, instituted a gifted-and-talented program and overhauled the curriculum. It was a very rewarding experience.”
Anna Marie didn’t limit her energy only to education but to business too. “George and I started Pit Pros (quick oil changes) in Chicago. “We started with one and grew to have six stores. Then we developed a franchise and ended up with 40 stores” before they sold it.
She wasn’t done with her professional life just yet. “Someone I knew asked me to work in enterprise management software.” Asked how she knew about that, she replied with a shrug, “I didn’t know anything about it, but I was willing to learn.” She quickly became adept in the business and remained there for nine years.
Over the years Anna Marie and her husband would come to Colorado to ski, but mostly, to see their son and grandchildren. “We had driven past Evergreen so many times that one day we decided to pull off and see what Evergreen was all about.” They decided this was the place to be and “spent a year and a half hunting until we found a home with a mountain view.” Now, Anna Marie gazes at Mt. Evans every day.
Since arriving in Evergreen in 2006, she has brought all her talents to our community. Anna Marie has been a volunteer in the second and third grade classes at Rocky Mountain Evergreen Academy. She taught calligraphy at the RMEA international fair and volunteered at Evergreen Christian Outreach.
“And when I arrived in Evergreen, I joined Evergreen Newcomers.” She became a member of the Board where she served for four years, two of which she was president. Her talents were recognized immediately. “I met Sam Smith, and he asked me to serve on the Sculpture Evergreen Board. I’ve always loved art, so I joined in 2012; she now serves as president.
Her passion for Sculpture Evergreen is obvious. “I want everyone to understand how special Evergreen is to have all of these sculptures in our community. We have a better collection than other towns our size, and it’s all done through the generosity of people in Evergreen, since we have no tax base.” Her enthusiasm grew as she said, “We’re trying to make the sculptures more user friendly. We have three different trails that combine both the 33 permanent pieces inter-mixed with the temporary pieces.”
Sculpture Evergreen holds a competition for sculptures each year and switches them out for a new collection each summer. “And we want people to know that many of our permanent sculptures were in temporary collections until local supporters purchased the sculptures so that they could remain in Evergreen.”
When she’s not presiding over meetings or getting other things done, she loves to spend time with her son and two granddaughters in Denver, as well as her son and daughter-in-law and their three sons in Virginia.
She and her husband have traveled as well. “We like to visit exotic places. We’ve been to Africa, Japan, Egypt, China, Greece, Turkey, Italy…” Anna Marie and George are looking forward to an upcoming trip - taking a cruise on the Danube through Prague and Budapest.
But as soon as she returns she’ll be back enjoying life in Evergreen and serving our community through her experience, talents and her hard work. People in Evergreen are delighted that she pulled off to see what Evergreen was all about and decided to stay.