Breckenridge Texan

Nelson Ezell

Nelson Ezell
November 12
18:09 2020

On Sunday, November 8, 2020, Nelson Eddie Ezell, loving husband, and father of four children, went to be with our Lord.

Nelson was born on March 9, 1943, in Thomasville, Georgia, to Robert and Hazel Morgan Ezell. He attended Taylor County Schools in Perry, Florida. After honorably serving in the U.S. Army from 1966-1968, he received his Airframe & Powerplant license from Lively Vocational Tech in Tallahassee, Florida, in June 1969. Nelson was later certified as an Inspection Authority. On February 14, 1970, Nelson married Dude (Helen) Livingston at Athena Baptist Church, Perry, Florida. Together, they raised two sons, Ashley and Chad, and two daughters, Alanna and Anna. He worked in aviation from July 1973 to the time of his accident in July 2017.

In Nelson’s early years, he was known for building hot rods and drag racing. His 327-powered A-Model was the fastest in three surrounding counties! He developed his passion for aviation during A & P school. In 1970, he founded Perry Aviation Service based at Perry-Foley airport, where he operated the FBO and performed maintenance on aircraft. Six years later, he built a hangar and airstrip and opened Ezell Airmotive, where he continued to work on aircraft and manufactured airboats with aircraft engines for recreational and commercial fishing.

Nelson’s aviation passion led him to Breckenridge, Texas, in 1982 where he worked for Jimmie McMillan and Howard Pardue, preserving and maintaining WWII aircraft. He loved the challenge of fabricating parts to rebuild warbirds and restoring them into better condition. In 1986, Nelson and Dude founded Ezell Aviation, Inc., where he used his artistic talents to guide him through thirty-five years of warbird restoration and maintenance. In 2011, they expanded operations and services by launching Ezell Avionics, Inc. Running his businesses was a priority, but he took pleasure in mentoring young men who had a genuine interest in aviation.

In the warbird community, Nelson was well-known for his craftsmanship of restoring WWII aircraft to pristine flying condition. He and his team restored thirty-four aircraft and performed repairs on over 100 different types of vintage airplanes. As a result of their efforts and quality of work, Ezell Aviation, Inc. was honored by the Experimental Aircraft Association for Best Restoration, along with multiple Snap-On Tools Gold and Silver Wrench Awards. In 2015, Nelson was inducted into the Warbird Hall of Fame by EAA Warbirds of America, an international organization that was founded to honor those who share a passion for flight. His character and craftsmanship have been cited in numerous publications, showcased by major industry brands, and highlighted throughout television and social media broadcasts. Nelson was involved at many levels at airshows and air races across the nation from 1982 to 2015.

Nelson was a Christian and a member of Gunsight Baptist Church, where he humbly served the Lord. His network of friends, colleagues, and customers grew simply because he was a respectable, southern gentleman who had ambition for preserving aviation history. He was an inspiration to those who knew him, as well as those who knew of him. Nelson will be remembered as a generous and humble icon with a legacy that will continue to be revered for years to come.

Nelson was preceded in death by his father, Robert, and his mother, Hazel. He is survived by his wife, Dude, four children and their spouses: Ashley and Sara Ezell, Chad and Heather Ezell, Alanna and Roye Stephens, and Anna and Seth Shortes; grandchildren, Providence and Prentin Ezell, Cecilia Stephens, Swenson and Slone Shortes; siblings, Rodger Ezell and Melva of Perry, Florida; Virginia Irving of Seven Devils, North Carolina, Danny Ezell and Joy of Perry, Florida; Glen Ezell and Norma of Breckenridge, Texas; and numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, and an aunt.

Special thanks to:
Dr. Prater and Barbara Medina
Caregivers, OJ Love, Toni Miller, and Frankie Stoker for their attentive care over Nelson’s needs during the past two years.

Funeral services will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 14, 2020, in the hangar at:
Ezell Aviation
228 Private Road 1501
Breckenridge, TX 76424

Visitation will be from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. on Friday, November 13, 2020, at:
Morehart Mortuary
1101 W Walker St
Breckenridge, TX 76424

Memorials may be made to the following organizations:
Gunsight Baptist Church
10674 US-183
Breckenridge, TX 76424

Nelson Ezell Aviation Scholarship Foundation
PO Box 1793
Breckenridge, TX 76424

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