Rest in Peace Nellie Katherine Symm-Gruender

Nellie Katherine Symm-Gruender, 65, of Rockport, Texas and Columbia, Missouri passed away April 19, 2017 after fighting a 4-month battle with cancer. Born Nellie Katherine Reynolds in Decatur, Illinois, Nellie graduated from Stephen Decatur High school in 1969, already a Licensed Vocational Nurse. She went on to earn her degree as a Registered Nurse and was Director of Emergency Departments for several major-medical centers during her career. During her career, she was named Nurse of the year by Seton and several other organizations for her exceptional work.

Nellie was instantly loved by everyone she met with her exuberant and bright personality. She loved sailing and traveling, and she combined the two by traveling in her sailboat on several extended cruises to the Caribbean. Nellie found great joy in visiting with the locals she met and learning their life stories. She also applied her nursing skills in her travels and volunteered numerous times on medical missions to Honduras through Honduras Good Works, which provides the only medical care available to thousands of people in the remote mountain regions. She paid for scholarships for several young Hondurans to continue their education, including one who completed her degree and is now a teacher. The young lady considers Nellie to be her child's grandmother and they held a special connection through the years.

Nellie recently had her first book published, “Wisdom from the Cup”, a memoir of her adventures, each story a life lesson learned while acquiring one of the many coffee cups in her now grand collection. She was an accomplished fused glass artist and loved teaching students in her studio in Rockport, creating unique pieces of art.

Nellie is survived by her husband, Eugene H. Gruender Jr, sons Eugene H Gruender III (Shelly) of Columbia, MO, Robert Wayne Gruender (Nichole) of Tipton, MO, James Mason Roark-Gruender (Paul) of Sturgeon, MO and Zachary Symm (Sarah) of Round Rock, TX; 5 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren. She is also survived by brothers Charles Reynolds of Decatur, Il and Harold Reynolds of Decatur, IL. She was preceded in death by her parents, John Reynolds, Ida Green Reynolds and brother Junior Reynolds.

In lieu of flowers, please send any donations to Honduras Good Works (hondurasgoodworks.org), an organization she loved and cherished where there are no paid personnel. All funds go directly to medical supplies and education for the poor of Honduras.

Celebration of life services to be held on April 23rd, 2017 at Unity Church at Noon, located at 1119 North Pearl Street Rockport, Texas 78382. Reception to follow afterwards.

In addition, there will be a celebration of life on April 30th, 2017 at The Tiger Shrine Club from 3pm-6pm, located at 2315 N. Stadium Blvd Columbia, Missouri 65202. Food and refreshments will be provided.

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Shared by Barbara Gurtner


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