Longtime member Margaret Nelson, who established the club’s Prison Writing Program, died Jan. 16, 2018. She was 87.
Nelson had retired as senior editor of The Criterion, the newspaper for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, for 14 years. She also had written for other publications, including Catholic News Service, Indiana Catholic Conference, Frame Fax, The Lawrence Journal and Topics Newspapers.
She earned numerous awards, including Woman’s Press Club of Indiana’s Communication of Achievement Award in 2005 and the club’s Kate Milner Rabb (twice). She won hundreds of awards for her writing and photography from WPCI and the National Federation of Press Women, and received a Casper award for her writing from the Indianapolis Community Service Council.
WPCI members Joan Bey, Bridget Carlson, Marion Garmel, Fred and Elizabeth Granger, Joline Ohmart and Julie Slaymaker attended the funeral mass Jan. 23 at St. Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church in Indianapolis, where 10 priests presided over services Nelson planned herself. Several WPCI members delivered readings during the ceremony
Nelson asked that her numerous Indiana State Fair blue ribbons, awarded for her macaron cookies, be displayed and given to attendees as keepsakes. During the club’s annual education fund auctions, plates of Nelson’s award-winning cookies often generated heated bidding as well as top dollars for the fund. One of the ribbons will be placed in her folder in the club’s archives at the Indiana Historical Society, along with the funeral program.
“Margaret was one-of-a-kind,” said club secretary Marion Garmel in a newsletter she emailed to members. “I know we will all miss her and her quiet dignity and service to our scholarship and prison writing contests.”