Cover photo for Kathleen Karen Flanary Nelson's Obituary
Kathleen Karen Flanary Nelson Profile Photo

Kathleen Karen Flanary Nelson

February 6, 1961 — July 27, 2023

Rural Hall Chapel

Kathleen Karen Flanary Nelson

February 6, 1961, in Camp Lejeune North Carolina, a beautiful baby girl was born. Kathleen Karen Flanary was born to Louise Beck Flanary and the late Charles Eddie Flanary on that blessed day. Through turmoil and strife, through the good and the great, her presence of peace and adoration lingered like a sweet lavender candle on this earth until it peacefully withered out Thursday July 27th, 2023, at Willow Valley Medical in North Carolina, Winston-Salem. In her youth, she would relocate with her small military family to attend first grade in Alexandria, Virginia. Shortly after her move, she would return to her lifelong home of North Carolina. 

Kathy’s life was full of dream come trues and life-long adventures. From her early years she was an adventurer at heart, going from New-York as a youth in her 20s, to Arizona in her older years, going as far to live in John Day, Oregon for a short time in 2018 only to come home to her final resting place a few months later. She graduated from South Stokes High School to then Study at Forsyth Tech for Business Law, Accounting, and Oral Communications. She used her education to create and manage a company in the early 2000s (Superior Staffing Inc.) and left it around 2008 to be a stay at home mother around the time her only child, Summer McKinnley Nelson, was born in 2001. 

Once she cut the chains to her entrepreneurial career, she set her sights to greater goals such as book writing and photography. After her daughter was born, she wrote and published her first book “This is Life, Embracing the Seasons Through Poetry and Songs” (2003) a book inspired by the love she held for her husband and miracle child. This book was the beginning to her love for the art of word, as she proceeded to write a series of books throughout the years, some inspired by her child, home life, and one inspired by her late sister Lynn Flanary. When her youngest sister had passed, she wrote a book about two sisters, one communicating with the afterlife to restore her faith that her sister resides in heaven. This book is called “Beneath The Cherry Blossoms” (2011) Her other novel, “The skein and the pair” (2010) shows her love for nature as she put her heart into studying water fowls and comparing them to human relationships. The last novel to speak of was written in spite of her own life struggles, implementing the values of anxiety and relationships. The cover of the book speaks of her love of photography as she took the picture of her daughter holding a balloon, representing the character’s child in the book. The book is called September’s Balloon” (2009).

Not only was she a novelist, but her love of children sparked a selection of children's books. Two books were draw-the-picture based books, where the child draws what they see while reading: “Little Lilly Wonderheart and the Magical Moon: Draw-the-Picture Books” (2009) and April Plays with Spring: Draw-the-Picture Book” (2009). The last children’s book to mention was the book “You Make Me Want To Sing” (2008) which was written for and about her daughter. This was the book she most adored herself, crediting her love of youth through their dances and songs. Finally, the last book she ever published was a warm resolution as just as she started, her last piece of artwork was in fact a poetry book. The book was written for her daughter and granddaughter who was born not long before her last book was published. The title is Always and Forever” (2022). When it came to her writing, she said it herself, “I love my writing because it has remarkably soothed me during difficult times while turning what felt like desperation into inspiration.”

Aside from her literature, she had many hobbies. She was an amazing photographer, having a studio in her home in King, NC in the early 2000s and early 2010s. She also had a love for 70s music and nature, and in her own words “I like to nap when it rains. I like making picante dip on cool days and walking in the park. I love laughing, sunny days, and crisp autumn days. I love the ocean and simplicity, like curtains flowing in the house on a breezy day.” 

October 2017 she was diagnosed with the disease that eventually took her life, advanced breast cancer. For the rest of her years she battled through every prognosis that was given, first being 2 months left, a year left, then 4 months and so on. Even with her very last prognosis which was one week left, she outlived it by another month and a half. She proved up to the last breath she took that nobody can foresee death except God himself, as she lived eight long years with stage 4 cancer, even regaining her strength in the middle and showing the world through her actions that a good long life is well spent fighting for what you believe in, even if it means living until your dreams come true. She at one point told her long-time friend she never thought she would live to see her grandchildren. The last month of her life she got to hold her grandson Kyle Nathaniel and Evelyn Faithlyn, and got to see her loved ones for the last time before peacefully falling asleep for the last time July 27th, 2023. Her last known words were “I love you,” to her daughter the night before on July 26th, 2023. 

Kathleen Karen Flanary Nelson was preceded in death by her father Charles Eddie Flanary, her sister Valerie Lynn Flanary, and her two brothers Micheal Eddie Flanary and David McKinley Flanary. She is survived by her mother Louise Beck Flanary, her brother Brady O'Neill Flanary, her daughter Summer McKinnley Nelson, and her grandchildren Evelyn Faith Monroe and Kyle Nathaniel Monroe. In her own words in an excerpt from her last book, she says solemnly, “And when I die the rivers will flow, the sun will shine, the grass will grow…You’re never alone you never will be. I prayed for angels to watch over thee. This is life, this is love. I'm in heaven with God watching you from above.” (Kathy Flanary Nelson, Forever and Always, 2022)

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