In Memory of Bobbie Lee Nelson (JANUARY 1, 1931 – MARCH 10, 2022

Bobbie Lee Nelson, beloved piano player, sister, mother, grandmother, and aunt, passed away on Wednesday, March 10, 2022 at her home in Austin, TX. She was 91 years old.

Nelson was born to parents Ira Nelson and Myrle Greenhaw Nelson on January 1, 1931 in Abbott, Texas. She was raised with her brother, Willie, by their grandparents, Alfred and Nancy Nelson.

“Mama Nelson” and “Daddy Nelson” filled the house with music, inspiring Bobbie at a young age to take up the instrument she was born to play. Bobbie began taking music lessons from Mama when she was six, and her brother soon followed suit. The siblings started playing in the church on Sundays, beginning what Bobbie called “the best music education anyone could have”

At age 16, Bobbie married Arlyn “Bud” Fletcher. Not long after she received her high school diploma, Bud put together a band, Bud Fletcher And The Texans, featuring Bobbie, Willie, and their father Ira.

Bobbie and Arlyn had three sons, Randy Arlyn, Michael Wayne, and Freddy Nelson. Her children were her life, and she soldiered through inconceivable life challenges to protect them and show them her love.

Bobbie gained recognition in the Austin music scene in the early 70’s playing hotels and supper clubs. In 1973 Bobbie and Willie reunited over music. Having signed with Atlantic Records, Willie called his sister from New York where he was recording a gospel album, and insisted that she join him. She boarded an airplane for the first time in her life, joined her brother in New York to record The Troublemaker, and never looked back. The Willie Nelson & Family band was now a true family.

The road was Bobbie’s second home. The stage was her heart. As Willie introduced

“Little Sister” Bobbie each night, she delved into her signature spirited rendition of “Down Yonder”, her delicate fingers, seemingly unburdened by a pair of gigantic Family Band rings, sweeping the keys. She would then tip her oversized cowboy hat to the crowd and return to the bus (and her beloved road dog, Mister), ready to do it all again the next night.

Throughout her illustrious career Bobbie has received many honors. She is an inductee in the Texas Music Hall of Fame, and the state of Texas declared February 23 as Bobbie Nelson Day.

She is survived by her brother, Willie Hugh Nelson; son, Freddy Nelson Fletcher; granddaughter, Eleanor Lee Fletcher; daughters-in-law, Lisa Rainey Fletcher and Phyllis Kissman Fletcher; sister-in-law, Annie D’Angelo Nelson; nieces Lana, Susie, Paula, and Amy Nelson; nephews Lukas and Micah Nelson; and many great, and even great-great, nieces and nephews.

She is joining her sons Randy and Michael.

In lieu of flowers, we encourage donations to the SIMS Foundation or a charity of your choice.

The service will take place on Sunday, March 13 at 2:00 PM at Weed Corley Fish Funeral Home, 5416 Parkcrest Drive, Austin, TX 78731

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