Funeral services for Dr. Nelda Self Wellman will be held on September 25, 2019, at 10 a.m. at New Life Evangelism Center in Natchitoches, LA. Rev. Dennis Bjornberg will officiate the service; interment will follow at American Cemetery under the direction of Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home. The family will receive friends on September 24, 2019, from 4-7 p.m. at New Life Evangelism Center. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her memory to the NSU Foundation Educator Excellence Fund C/O NSU Alumni Association, 535 University Parkway, Natchitoches. LA 71497 or the New Life Evangelism Center Youth Fund, 4810 University Parkway, Natchitoches, LA 71457. Nelda was born on April 17, 1950 in Bastrop, LA to Rev. Oliver Ovis and Ms. Dorothy McGaha Self. A 1968 graduate of Pioneer High School, she went on to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Northwestern State University and a Doctorate of Educational Leadership from Stephen F. Austin State University. Throughout her career, Nelda taught various elementary grades at Hicks School, East Leesville Elementary, and Newton Elementary, and also served as an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at NSU. Nelda married her husband of 46 years, Dr. Wendell C. Wellman, in 1970. She is preceded in death by her husband, her parents, and her granddaughter, Anne Alexandra Perkins. Nelda is survived by her daughter, Dr. Gerra Wellman Perkins and husband Kendal Perkins of Natchitoches, LA and their daughters, Kate and Caroline; and her son Dr. Gerard C. Wellman and his wife Lisa Zimmerman Wellman of Turlock, CA and their three sons, Grant, Riley, and Owen. Nelda is survived by five siblings, Jerry Self (and wife Trish) of Oak Grove, LA; Beverly Peoples (and husband Kyle) of Columbia, MS; Don Self (and wife Rhonda) of Estes Park, CO; Kathy Sanders (and husband Dale) of Deville, LA; and Sandra Welch (and husband Randy) of Winnsboro, LA. She is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews. Among the many who held a special place in Nelda’s heart are her husband’s family, her church family, and her NSU family. Nelda was a gifted musician. She became a church pianist at the age of 12, playing the piano and organ throughout her life. She also directed the choir at the First United Pentecostal Church of Leesville for over 25 years. Under her direction, the Leesville choir grew to 80 voices and was invited to sing at numerous denominational gatherings, parades and community events, and at NSU. Nelda consistently mentored young musicians by giving them opportunities to sing and/or play at church, and she gladly shared her knowledge with those learning to play various instruments. She passed on her love for music to her children and her grandchildren and countless others. As an educator for 45 years, Nelda was a mentor and role model for many new teachers, colleagues, student teachers, and graduate students. She was passionate about education and loved seeing her students learn and succeed, both in the classroom and in life. She was an early proponent of the use of Accelerated Reader and the Shurley Method in the elementary classroom. Known for her empathic, nurturing, and structured teaching style, her doctoral research agenda focused on teacher caring. Nelda garnered numerous awards and accolades as an educator, including Teacher of the Year for Vernon Parish, Teacher of the Year for Newton Independent School District, and Teacher of the Year for the NSU College of Education. One of Nelda’s most fulfilling roles in life was that of “Nana” to her grandchildren. Loving to spend quality time with them, she was a playmate, snuggler, entertainer, and doter-in-chief. She encouraged a love of literature by reading aloud to them any book they desired, in particular the Brer Rabbit series, bringing the stories to life with animated voices. As Nana she could never say “no” and indulged her grandchildren in long golf cart rides, endless treats and desserts, and participation in any game they could imagine. Throughout her life Nelda was the embodiment of quiet strength. Those around her felt the warmth of her caring and encouragement. Whether as “Mrs. Wellman” in the elementary classroom, “Dr. Wellman” at NSU, “Sister Nelda” to her church family, “Nelda” or “Aunt Nelda” to her siblings, their children, and extended family, “Nana” to her grandchildren, or “Mom” to her children, she went out of her way to make everyone feel special, understood, and loved.