American Veteran 01

Nelson Vera

March 26, 1933 ~ June 6, 2022 (age 89)


Nelson Vera was born in Utuado, Puerto Rico on March 26, 1933.  A veteran of both the Korean War and Vietnam War, he served in the United States Air Force from April 14, 1951 to August 31, 1971, earning the rank of Senior Master Sergeant.  After turning down the promotion to Chief Master Sergeant for family reasons, he began another career in education.  During his 32-year education career, he taught and served as a school counselor at five different schools in Orange County, Florida eventually retiring in May 2003. 

During his 52-year professional career, our dad epitomized service to others – to God, to his country, and to his family.  He served as a Eucharistic minister, lector, and usher at numerous Catholic parishes and worked closely with some of the chaplains at the military installations where he was assigned.  Despite long hours at work and going to night school to earn both a Bachelor and Master’s degree, he still found time to spend with the family and always put the family’s interest first.  An example of this occurred when, putting in his Air Force retirement papers, he was informed that he had just come out on the Chief’s list and if he proceeded with the retirement, he would forfeit the promotion.  His decision was pivotal and as expected, his family came first and he retired from the Air Force.  His success carried over into his education career; he served seven years as a teacher and 25 years as a school counselor. It was as a school counselor that he really “spread his wings” by helping numerous students receive scholarships to top universities in the country and appointments to the military academies; he had a tremendous impact on so many students.  In 1998, he was selected the High School Counselor of the Year for Orange County Public Schools, the ninth largest school district in the United States!  Despite his achievements and success, he maintained a great humility and always gave credit to God.   In recent months, as he reflected back on his life, he said he had no regrets, that he was blessed by his 67-year marriage to the love of his life, Gladys, who pre-deceased him in 2019, and a great family, and that he truly enjoyed the two careers in which he served.  In the end, we all should be so blessed to say the same thing!

He is survived by his 3 children - Nelson Thomas Vera from Colorado Springs, CO; Glenn Vera, from Melbourne, FL; and Arlene Elizabeth Carlock from Orlando, FL, as well as 8 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren (plus another on the way).  The family requests that in lieu of flowers that donations be made to the Alzheimer’s Disease Research.  He will be buried at the Cape Canaveral National Cemetery with full military honors.

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A Memorial Tree was planted for Nelson

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Catholic Mass
June 18, 2022

10:30 AM
St John the Evangelist Catholic Church
5655 Stadium Parkway
Melbourne, FL 32940

June 21, 2022

9:30 AM
Cape Canaveral National Cemetery
5525 US-1
Mims (Scotsmoor), FL 32754

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