Cover photo for Rayford E. Nelson's Obituary
Rayford E. Nelson Profile Photo
1947 Rayford 2021

Rayford E. Nelson

August 20, 1947 — December 24, 2021

Rayford E. Nelson Sr., 74 of Rockford, passed away surrounded by his beloved family in his home on December 24, 2021. Born in Columbia, Louisiana on August 20, 1947 son to Richard and Johnnie (Tuggle) Nelson. A 1966 graduate of Union Central High School Rayford went on to move to Rockford, Illinois and became employed to Dean Foods. He married Shirley Johnson on October 8, 1975. He retired from Dean Foods in 2010. In his free time, Rayford enjoyed playing tennis in his younger years, and basketball until he was 66. He was affectionately known as “Ole Skool” by other members of the local YMCA, where he enjoyed giving pointers to the kids who also liked the sport. His family and friends will truly miss the comical stories he loved to tell.

He will be missed by those who loved him most, his wife of 46 years, Shirley; his children Latrice Mcginnis, Ronnie Nelson, Shannon Nelson, Lashaunda Nelson and Ebony Nelson; his grandchildren Danielle Vasquez, Ashley, Alex and Carter Zachery; his sister Jackie (Ronnie Jo) London; nephews Tony and Terrance; nieces Kistia, Kisha, and Tomesha, as well as a host of great nieces and nephews. He is predeceased by his parents; his son Rayford Nelson Jr.; sister Linda Fay; nephew Ronnie London Jr.; as well as his aunt Betty Ray Tuggle.

Funeral services for Rayford will be private to the family. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to his family to be established at a later date. To send online condolences, please visit

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Rayford E. Nelson, please visit our flower store.


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