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James Nelson, 62, passed away May 17, 2017.  He was born in Chattanooga, TN to Melvin Nelson and Venedia P. Nelson Sparks.  He attended Howard High School Class of “72” and Fisk University.  He retired from Hardee’s after 20 plus years, and he was an Army veteran. He was a member of Warren Chapel AME Church.

He was preceded in death by his father, Melvin Nelson; brother, Anthony Nelson; grandmother, Geneva P. Mabry; and grandfather, Charlie Washington Phillips.

He is survived by his wife, Karen Nelson; mom & stepdad, Joseph & Venedia Sparks; daughters, Ashley Blake, A’Sha, Alexis, and Aniya Nelson, all of Chattanooga.  Sisters, Alesia DeAnn Nelson, New Mexico, Beverly Sutton, Linda Rodgers & Nina Benford, all of Chattanooga; brother, Ronnie Sparks.  Three brothers-in-law, Jimmy, Leslie Blake, and Samuel Caffey; two sisters-in-law, Karen Blake  and Keisha Caffey. Two grandchildren, Jamiya Nelson and Carson James Dozier.

The body will lie in state beginning at 12:00 noon Friday, May 26, 2017 at Warren Chapel AME Church. The service will begin at 1:00 pm with Pastor Pedro Basden officiating. Interment:  Chattanooga National Cemetery, 2:30 pm. 

Funeral arrangements are provided by John P. Franklin Funeral Home, 1101 Dodds Avenue, 423-622-9995.

James Nelson
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  • Wednesday, May 17, 2017
    Our staff will continue to keep your family in our prayers. We thank you for allowing us to serve your family.
    ~ John P. Franklin Funeral Home
  • Saturday, May 20, 2017
    So very sorry to hear that your loved one has passed away. Please know that others care. Revelation 21:3-5 records a promise from almighty God that death, mourning, outcry, and pain will be no more. For additional information and comfort from the scriptures please visit
    ~ T Lampkin
  • Saturday, May 27, 2017
    Sympathy to the family for my classmate, James, may he rest in peace.
    ~ Beatrice Hudson   Chattanooga, TN
  • Saturday, May 27, 2017
    My heart aches for Karen and the Nelson family to lose in death your precious loved one James. Words are so limited that can give comfort, so I would like to share with you a beautiful scripture where our heavenly Father, Jehovah (Psalm 83:18) invites you to throw all your burdens on him and he will sustain you in your time of grief. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow, but we are all guaranteed a resurrection. John 6: 40; "For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who recognizes the Son and exercises faith in him should have everlasting life, and I will resurrect him on the last day". John 5: 28; "Do not be amazed at this, for the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out..." John 11:23-25; "Jesus said to her: "I am the resurrection and the life." The one who exercises faith in me, even tho he dies, will come to life. The Bible also enlightens us at Hebrews 2:14b "so that through his (Jesus) death, he (Jesus) might bring to nothing the one having the means to cause death, that is, the Devil. I pray that Jesus's promise to reunite us with our loved ones on resurrection day will carry you through the difficult days ahead and gradually replace your tears of grief with tears of Joy as you reflect on your precious memories of happier times. The family is in my prayers and I offer my heartfelt condolences. Feel free to me at my email address: For more comforting scriptures please visit: It has given me hope, strengthened my faith and helped me find the answer to Why? I know it will do the same for you. Please watch this beautiful video (song 144) entitled "Keep Your Eyes on the Prize"
    ~ M J Jarmon