Cover photo for Kevin Matthew Nelson's Obituary
Kevin Matthew Nelson Profile Photo
1976 Kevin 2024

Kevin Matthew Nelson

August 17, 1976 — March 3, 2024


Surrounded by his family, Kevin Matthew Nelson, passed from his earthly probation on Sunday afternoon, March 3, 2024, at his home in Otway.

A funeral service to honor Kevin’s life will be held at 11 a.m., Monday, March 11th at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Harkers Island, officiated by Bishop James Morris. Interment will follow at Vergie Mae Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m., Sunday, March 10th at the Church.

Kevin Matthew Nelson was born on August 17th, 1976. He was the third of five children born to Frederick and Bonnie Nelson. While he was the middle child, he never had any issues or insecurities about where he fit into his family or for the love they all felt for one another. As a boy Kevin found great joy in athletics and any chance to play or compete. He was naturally both athletic and competitive, and spent most of his spare time in sports. Even through his high school years, his closest friends were made on the ball field or the basketball court. For the rest of his life, he maintained a great respect and appreciation for the many coaches that spent time mentoring him during these formative years.

In 1996, after 2 years of college at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, Kevin made the life-altering decision to serve a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He was called to serve a Spanish speaking mission in Buenos Aires, Argentina. These 2 years were filled with wonderful experiences that would secure his testimony and give him the sure foundation he needed to return home and start a family of his own. It also proved to be an invaluable training ground to what would be a lifetime of dedicated priesthood service.

He seemed to know exactly what he wanted in the way of a wife, since he wasted no time asking for Emily's hand in marriage only 2 short months after returning home. Kevin returned from Argentina in July of 1998, was engaged in September and married in December of the same year. He would only fall more and more in love with Emily as each year that passed.

Emily became his best friend and as the years unfolded they would grow together and become as one. Their marriage was centered on Jesus Christ and their lives revolved around their membership in His church. They were never ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ and they both spent their lives in His service. Kevin spent many years serving locally, including his years, still as a young father, as the bishop of the Harkers Island ward. He enjoyed all of his callings, in part due to the opportunity to develop wonderful relationships with the members of the congregation and in coming to love so many.

While still a young man, Kevin was called to serve in the Kinston stake presidency. While this came as a very unexpected surprise to their family, they each embraced it and it proved to be a blessing and great opportunity to learn and grow spiritually. He would quickly serve in three different stake presidencies, in part due to the creation of the Morehead City Stake in September of 2021. Kevin attributed his opportunities for church service and his privilege to serve, in large part to his father-in-law, Joel Hancock. He had watched Joel serve, not only faithfully, but with joy and love for the work his entire life, and this was the model he would choose to follow.

Emily was also the other obvious source for his devotion to the work. She never complained about his church responsibilities or for any time that he would need to be gone from home. She embraced every calling and was equally yoked with him in every aspect of their lives together. And everyone knew, Kevin was a better man, and a better everything, because of her love. She was his greatest advocate and friend.

Emily and Kevin were married in the Washington DC Temple; a wedding that almost the entire ward family attended and a day that must be among the coldest on record in the DC area! Within 2 months of their wedding, on Valentine's Day of 1999, they learned that Emily was pregnant with their first child. They were ecstatic! Eden would arrive later that year, Grant a few short years later, and then Jacob would come and be what they assumed after several more years passed, would complete their perfect family. They always felt another child was meant to be theirs, and that occurred abruptly with the blessing that was given them of adopting Olivia, almost a decade later. Empty nesting days would be postponed, but their family now felt complete. Kevin loved his children with all his heart. If he could be with them, all was perfect in his world.

Before even finishing his studies at East Carolina, Kevin began working in sales in the Institutional Division of Ecolab. This was a career that allowed him to spend time serving at church and volunteering in the community. For 15 years, Kevin visited his customers all over Eastern North Carolina. He loved the relationships he made with hotel and restaurant managers and the staff at the hospitals he visited. He particularly enjoyed being able to visit with the residents of the nursing home communities he serviced. But, the best part of Ecolab was the scheduling freedom he enjoyed. As a result, he was able to spend many years coaching Parks and Rec basketball and Cal Ripken baseball. This time spent with his boys and their friends, as well as a rekindling of the relationships with his own teammates who had also grown up to coaches, proved to make these years what he considered the best time of his life.

As an answer to many prayers and pleadings with the Lord, Kevin began a new career as an insurance agent with Farm Bureau in 2015. There was not much about this career move that he didn't love. He loved his co-workers, his customers and the farmers who make up the Federation. He loved sponsoring the Players of the Game for East Carteret football, long before his sons ever took to the field. And one of his greatest joys was being able to hand out those certificates and footballs to his own sons when the time finally came.

Cancer was not what Kevin was expecting when he visited the doctor in the spring of 2022 for what he thought was a kidney stone. His diagnosis with an extremely rare and aggressive form of pancreatic cancer was devastating. Trips to meet doctors in Chapel Hill, Iowa, New York and Durham were all met with more questions than answers. Through it all, he received the most special nursing care at the Raab Clinic in Morehead City. We will miss these relationships and are so grateful for Dr. Luis Cuervo and Marc Shuler and the rest of the staff at the clinic. They never gave up on him and were as heartbroken as our family when we learned that the tumor was no longer responding to treatment.

Kevin is survived by his wife, Emily; his children, Eden, Grant (Makayla), Jacob, and Olivia; his mother, Bonnie of Straits; brother, Shawn (Leigh) of Smyrna; sister, Danielle (Brooks) Pace of Morehead City; and sister Rachel (Jason) Frivance of Harkers Island; in-laws, Joel and Susan Hancock of Harkers Island, Joella and James Morris of Straits, Alyson and Kyle Dart of Spanish Fork, UT, Leah and Rodney Steelman of Rolesville, NC, Joel and Lauren Hancock of Smyrna, and Mike and Camille Hancock of Beaufort. "Uncle KK" also leaves behind many nieces and nephews, Nyah Nelson, Ben, Luke, Owen and William Pace, Isabelle, Jackson, and Matthew Frivance, Jacy, Riley, Zoey, and Charlie Morris, Zac, Will, and Sam Dart, Jackson, Brady, and Carter Steelman, Calvin, Oliver, Levi, and Evan Hancock, and Gardner, and Charlie Hancock. 

He was preceded in death by his father, Frederick Bell Nelson, and sister, Angela Marie Nelson. 

The obituary was written by Kevin, who wanted to leave his love to those who have prayed so faithfully for him and his family for these two years)

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to East Carteret High School, 3263 US 70 East, Beaufort, N.C. 28516.
Family and friends are welcome to submit online condolences at
 Arrangements by Munden Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc., Morehead City, N.C.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Kevin Matthew Nelson, please visit our flower store.
Service Program for Kevin Nelson.pdf

Service Schedule

Past Services


Sunday, March 10, 2024

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)

Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints, Harkers Island

1007 Island Road, Harkers Island, NC 28531

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Monday, March 11, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints, Harkers Island

1007 Island Road, Harkers Island, NC 28531

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Interment Following

Monday, March 11, 2024

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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