Nelson Goncalves was born in Providence, R.I. He came to Elizabeth at age three and lived there all of his life before moving to Cranford in 2013 with his wife Maria. Nelson and Maria were married 64 years and had two children, Diane DeLuna and Nancy Ingram.
He was an accountant for Exxon International Company, New York City, for over 27 years before retiring in 1984.
As an active member of the Lions Club, Nelson served in many positions, including president of the Elizabeth Portuguese Lions Clubs, district governor (District 16E), and district governor advisor; he served on many state, district and club committees and chairmanships, including as council chair of MD16 NJ.
Nelson received two international Presidents Awards, two international Leadership Awards and "Lion of the Year," and was a life member of the Lions Clubs International. He also served as a trustee for the Eye Institute of New Jersey, Lions Eye Bank, and the 16E Charitable Foundation. Nelson received the "Dr. Emanuel Elkin Patarroyo Outstanding Lion of the Year" and the "Melvin Jones Fellow Award" for dedicated humanitarian services. He was also very active in and passionate about Camp Marsella Camp for blind children, in Rockaway, NJ.
Nelson served faithfully for many decades at the Lions Thanksgiving Day Luncheon, as chair of eyeglass collection, and as part of the club's distribution of Christmas food baskets. In addition to his Lions Club activities, Nelson also was active in Our Lady of Fatima's parish council. Nelson volunteered to work as a bingo caller at Our Lady of Fatima (30 years), Blessed Sacrament (10 years), and St. Anthony's Church (13 years), all in Elizabeth.
He was active in the Portuguese Instructive Social Club, Elizabeth, where he was a member for 68 years and served as grand marshal of the Portugal Day Parade in 1994. He was also a member of the Old Portuguese Youth in Elizabeth. Nelson was an Army veteran after World War II.
Nelson passed away in July 2014 and is survived by his wife Maria and his 2 daughters.
Grand Marshal - 1994
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