The Garden Island
Notice #: 0001351853-01
Funeral Notices


Dr. Marita Lee Nelson, born in Redondo Beach, California on August 8, 1934, passed away on her 87th Birthday, August 8, 2021 at Kaiser Moanalua Medical Center in Honolulu. She was the daughter of Lee George and Marie Blanche (Waples) Nelson. She is survived by her brother, Rev. Dr. Robert William Nelson on Maui. Her niece, Lynette S. Nelson-Peavy (Husband, Dan Peavy, and Daughter, Alexia Kai Peavy) reside on Maui, and her nephew, Erik Tighe Nelson (Wife, Rainee Nelson) reside in Seattle, Washington.

Marita received both her Bachelor of Science (1957) and Master of Science in Physical Education (1959) and served as an Instructor in the Department of Physical Education at UCLA. In 1961 – 1963, she served as Associate Professor at the University of Illinois, Norma, Illinois. She served as Associate Professor in the Department of Anatomy (1964 – 1969) at the University of California at Berkeley and received her Doctor of Philosophy in Anatomy (1968) as a result of completing research on the thyroid and hormonal effects on rats raised at high altitude. Subsequently, she taught Anatomy at the Georgetown University Medical School in Washington, D.C. (1970 – 1974). She joined the faculty of the University of Hawai`i, Manoa, John A. Burns School of Medicine as Professor of Clinical Anatomy in the Department of Pathology from June, 1974 until she retired in 2002. She was the winner of distinguished teaching awards at every institution where she taught and was the recipient of the Excellence in Teaching by the University of Hawai`i Foundation numerous times. She remained an active member of the University of Hawai`i Professional Assembly throughout her retirement.

Marita sang with the Honolulu Symphony Chorus and the Hawai`i Opera Theatre over many years, singing and performing in over 17 different operas. She was a member of Waiakeola Congregational Church for many years and served there as Moderator for two terms. She later joined the Church of the Crossroads and served as Moderator there as well. She sang in the choirs of both churches.

A Celebration of Life will be held in-house at the Church of the Crossroads, 1212 University Avenue, Honolulu on Saturday, December 4, 2021 at 10:00 AM. It will also be broadcast on Zoom beginning at 9:30 AM.

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 835 2401 6730
Passcode: 044691